Discussion Papers, Zentrum für Ökonomische und Soziologische Studien 70
[Introduction] Ludwik Fleck’s contribution to the sociology and philosophy of science has gone almost unnoticed to the present day (see Sady 2017). Although his ideas about the development of scientific knowledge as a collective effort organised in ‘thought collectives’ (‘Denkkollektive’) based on shared ‘thought styles’ (‘Denkstile’) may have been elaborated and honed in Thomas S. Kuhn’s works on scientific revolutions and paradigm shifts and those of Imre Lakatos on scientific research programs (srp), Fleck’s work is still insightful beyond Kuhn’s and Lakatos’ contributions, not so much with respect to what triggers scientific progress but rather what impedes the correction of scientific deceptions. While Kuhn and Lakatos built on the rationality of the scientific community not to follow paradigmatic lines or adhere to scientific research programs defeated by empirical falsification or the proof of logical inconsistency or having entered the ‘state of degeneration’, Fleck was more concerned with the sociological forces that explain the resilience of ideas and what today we would call ‘fake knowledge’ even in the face of mounting evidence that does not fit the established wisdom. In the following, Fleck’s philosophy and sociology of science will be briefly outlined in order to establish a ‘theory of the resilience of scientific misapprehension’. This theory will be tested against the development of modern neoclassical economics by singling out a case of extreme deviation of theoretical prediction from empirical evidence: minimum wages’ impact on employment.