Science and Market as Adaptive Classifying Systems

Cognition and Economics

ISBN: 978-0-76231-378-5, eISBN: 978-1-84950-465-2

ISSN: 1529-2134

Publication date: 11 December 2006


As the cognitive sciences – particularly neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and a rejuvenated artificial intelligence movement that has largely abandoned the model of the mind as a formal machine – have seen major development over the past quarter-century, it is inevitable that the findings thrown up by this ‘cognitive revolution’ should be examined for their relevance to the understanding of economic behavior. This ongoing examination has tended to emphasize those characteristics of human cognitive capabilities that call into question the descriptive adequacy of the rational-choice model, focusing on departures from individual rationality that may have economic consequences at the market level.1 Such a move may be the obvious one for an economist confronted with this interdisciplinary challenge, but it is not the only one. The new insights into the functioning of the brain can also be deployed in the understanding of complex systems in general – and of specific social arrangements in particular – and that is the direction taken here. By critically examining the systemic similarities and differences between the social arrangements of science and market, the aim is to show how a complex systems approach, inspired by developments in cognitive psychology but applying these at the level of the system rather than of the individual, can provide a new and useful way of understanding social systems.


McQuade, T. (2006), "Science and Market as Adaptive Classifying Systems", Krecké, E., Krecké, C. and Koppl, R. (Ed.) Cognition and Economics (Advances in Austrian Economics, Vol. 9), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 51-86.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.