The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behavior which makes the originally false conception come true. The specious validity of the self-fulfilling prophecy perpetuates a reign of error. For the prophet will cite the actual course of events as proof that he was right from the very beginning.
Max Weber was right in subscribing to the view that one need not be Caesar in order to understand Caesar. But there is a temptation for us theoretical sociologists to act sometimes as though it is not necessary even to study Caesar in order to understand him. Yet we know that the interplay of theory and research makes both for understanding of the specific case and expansion of the general rule.
We thus begin to see that the institutionalized practice of citations and references in the sphere of learning is not a trivial matter. While many a general reader-that is, the lay reader located outside the domain of science and scholarship-may regard the lowly footnote or the remote endnote or the bibliographic parenthesis as a dispensable nuisance, it can be argued that these are in truth central to the incentive system and an underlying sense of distributive justice that do much to energize the advancement of knowl
Only when he has published his ideas and findings has the scientist made his contribution, and only when he has thus made it part of the public domain of scholarship can he truly lay claim to it as his own. For his claim resides only in the recognition accorded by peers in the social system of science through reference to his work.