[OPE-L:4195] Re: Re: Re: Who agrees with Popper?

From: Fred B. Moseley (fmoseley@mtholyoke.edu)
Date: Sat Oct 21 2000 - 00:12:16 EDT

This is just a brief response to Andy's first post in this very
interesting stream.  Andy said that I, in response to Gil, accepted a
Popperian "falsificationist" philosophy of science.  

I would not characterize my interpretation in that way.  I realize that it
is very hard for economic theories, especially general economic theories,
like the labor theory of value or the utility theory of value or the
marginal productivity theory of distribution, to make substantial
definite, falsifiable predictions.  Therefore, in a general methodological
discussion, I would not insist on definite predictions.  I would prefer a
broader definition of empirical test, something like "explanatory power",
although that is also vague and fraught with difficulties.  However, I do
think, in agreement with Patrick M. and others, that it is necessary to
attempt to evaluate the validity of a theory with some type of empirical

And in this particular case of Marx's theory, I argue that it
does indeed provide definite predictions about important phenomena
(conflicts over the length of the working day and the intensity of labor,
and inherent technological change), so that it passes even this more
stringent criterion of falsifiability.

I am sorry that I have not be able to keep up with all the other comments,
but I just wanted to clarify my position.


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