Being scientific research a process of social interaction, this process can be studied from a game-theoretic perspective. Some conceptual and formal instruments that can help to understand scientific research as a game are introduced, and it is argued that game theoretic epistemology provides a middle ground for ‘rationalist’ and ‘constructivist’ theories of scientific knowledge. In the first part (‘The game theoretic logic of scientific discovery’), a description of the essential elements of game of science is made, using an inferentialist conception of rationality. In the second part (‘Sociology of science and its rational reconstructions’), some ideas for the reconstruction of case studies are introduced, and applied to one example: Latour's analysis of Joliot's attempt to build an atomic bomb. Lastly, in the third part (‘Fact making games’), a formal analysis of the constitution of scientific consensus is offered.

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Author notes

Jesús P. Zamora Bonilla is professor in the Department of Logic, History, and Philosophy of Science of the National Open University of Spain (U.N.E.D.), Madrid, and academic co-ordinator of the Urrutia Elejalde Foundation for Economics and Philosophy. His research has centered on the economic analysis of scientific knowledge production. He has also worked on scientific realism and truth approximation. Some of his recent papers in international journals are “Truthlikeness, Rationality, and Scientific Progress” (Synthese, 2000), “Verisimilitude and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes” (Journal for General Philosophy of Science, 2002), “An economic model of scientific rules” (Economics and Philosophy, 2006), “Science as a persuasion game” (Episteme, 2006) and “Rhetoric, Induction, and the Free Speech Dilemma” (Philosophy of Science, forthcoming).