Poverty of stimulus and absence of cause : some questions for Felin and Foss
We examine an aspect of the argument of Teppo Felin and Nicolai Foss ('The Endogenous Origins of Experience, Routines, and Organizational Capabilities: The Poverty of Stimulus'; 2011) where they reject the claim of Geoffrey Hodgson and Thorbjorn Knudsen ('Darwinism, Causality and the Social Sciences'; 2004) that habits depend crucially on stimuli from the social environment. We argue that while rightly stressing human agency they also create a false dichotomy between agential and environmental factors in the explanation. Felin and Foss create further confusion by hinting - without adequate clarification - at an untenable notion of human agency as an uncaused cause. We raise several questions of clarification for these authors.