The great ideas of the social sciences

By Paul Walker 02/09/2012

At the ThinkMarkets blog Gene Callahan put forward a list of great ideas in social science:

* The state as the individual writ large (Plato)

* Man is a political/social animal (Aristotle)

* The city of God versus the city of man (Augustine)

* What is moral for the individual may not be for the ruler (Machiavelli)

* Invisible hand mechanisms (Hume, Smith, Ferguson)

* Class struggle (Marx, various liberal thinkers)

* The subconscious has a logic of its own (Freud)

* Malthusian population theory

* The labor theory of value (Ricardo, Marx)

* Marginalism (Menger, Jevons, Walras)

* Utilitarianism (Bentham, Mill, Mill)

* Contract theory of the state (Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau)

* Sapir-Worf hypothesis

* Socialist calculation problem (Mises, Hayek)

* The theory of comparative advantage (Mill, Ricardo)

* Game theory (von Neumann, Morgenstern, Schelling)

* Languages come in families (Jones, Young, Bopp)

* Theories of aggregate demand shortfall (Malthus, Sismondi, Keynes)

* History as an independent mode of thought (Dilthey, Croce, Collingwood, Oakeshott)

* Public choice theory (Buchanan, Tullock)

* Rational choice theory (who?)

* Equilibrium theorizing (who?)

I would add:

*Organisational theories explaining why a given organisational form gets used in a given situation (Coase)


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