An Analytical Core for Sociological Theory

Herbert Gintis and Dirk Helbing present an analytical core for sociological theory. Readers of Gintis’ Bounds of Reason will find many familiar passages and arguments. What I liked about this particular paper is that they begin with the social equilibrium and work their way backwards to disequilibrium. Efforts to unite the different disciplines of behavioural sciences are certainly laudable, but I guess a much wider (and concerted) effort would be needed.

The tools have been out there for a while (game theory, other-regarding social individuals, correlated equilibrium, etc.), and it’s good to see work to bring it all together. How this can spread, however, is another story — just look at the bewildering diversity that exists at the moment, seemingly in parallel universes.

Gintis, Herbert. 2014. The Bounds of Reason: Game Theory and the Unification of the Behavioral Sciences. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Gintis, Herbert, and Dirk Helbing. 2015. ‘Homo Socialis: An Analytical Core for Sociological Theory’. Review of Behavioral Economics 2 (1-2): 1–59. doi:10.1561/105.00000016.

2 Replies to “An Analytical Core for Sociological Theory”

  1. If you want to influence “mainstream” sociologists, why would you publish in Review of Behavioral Economics? Seems a bit self-defeating.

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