The notion that intellectual rivalry is a basic energetic force in the development of knowledge and science is one of the few ideas which modern philosophers and sociologists of science agree upon without reserve. In this context, the economic metaphor of the ‘market-place of ideas’ is as much favoured as the political model of contained ‘parliamentary’ dialogue, and in either case descriptive purposes are intimately wedded to normative ones. Free competition is traditionally associated with liberty, tolerance, and progress, while its absence is interpreted as a definite cause of intellectual vegetation, dogmatism, and arrogance. However, such consensus as may exist is only a thin film which scarcely subdues the differences of opinion which lie underneath. These disagreements not only concern the specific balance of competition and cooperation which obtains in scientific work, and hence how far their psychological and structural impact should extend, but they also touch the question to what degree scientific developments are steered by local, position-, or group-bound interests, and what this signifies for the alleged ‘truth’ or global rationality of the scientific enterprise.