[OPE-L:4235] RE: Who agrees with Popper? [re OPE-L:4154]

From: Paul Cockshott (paul@cockshott.com)
Date: Mon Oct 23 2000 - 05:20:29 EDT

One real world question that has just struck me is that money market
rates in Japan are currently less than 1%.
Does anyone know if the rate of profit in Japan is of this same
low order?
-----Original Message-----
From: owner-ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu
[mailto:owner-ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu]On Behalf Of Steve Keen
Sent: 19 October 2000 23:04
To: ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu
Subject: [OPE-L:4170] Re: Re: Re: (Fwd) Re: Who agrees with Popper? [re

Hey, hold on!

I did *not* say that *falsifiability* is the only criteria for judging a
theory scientific. I did say that it is a criterion, which I would argue
has been attenuated by subsequent progress in the philosophy of science,
but not abrogated.

I agree with Mirowski that you can't use Lakatos' framework to judge
between theories. But I think you can use it to typify the kind of change
going on within a given school of thought. Now of course you won't get
agreement from practitioners of different schools--please don't think I
believe that.

In my original comment which began this thread, I was effectively
expressing my frustration with the way in which some TSS advocates appear
to approach criticism--which from my perspective, is to make their position
"uncriticisable". From a Lakatos point of view, I see that a degenerative,
not progressive behaviour. But I have no doubt that TSSers won't agree with
me, and that I can't appeal to the philosophy of science to persuade them
(nor they me).

But as a parting aside, how about some "progressive" discussion on this
list folks? When was there last a discussion here on something which is
actually happening in the real world--such as, for example, the chaos on
america's financial markets? Isn't that the sort of thing a progressive
science should be analysing--rather than forever trying to solve--or
dismiss--the transformation problem?

Marx once commented in effect that the purpose of studying philosophy was
to understand and transform the world; when was the last time we even
discussed it?

At 21:14 19/10/00 +0800, you wrote:
>Steve writes [OPE-L: 4159]
>>I haven't kept up with the philosophy of science since Lakatos--though I
>>have read all the references you note below. I dispute that it is Popper's
>>litmus test which has been rejected. What has been rejected are his
>>concepts of how scientists do and should behave. I would find it strange
>>for any philospher of science to define as a science a set of propositions
>>which has been designed to be unfalsifiable--though of course adjusting
>>ancillary assumptions is a normal part of the development of a SRP.
>Pulling a book off my shelf.... it seems Popper thought that objectivity in
>the social sciences depends on the 'critical method' implied by
>falsification, since 'only in the rarest cases can the social scientist
>free himself from the value system of his own social class and so achieve
>even a limited degree of "value freedom" and "objectivity" (Logic of the
>Social Sciences, in Adorno 1976 edn. *The Positivist Dispute in German
>"Truth" wins out through a process of criticism?! Does anyone disagree with
>Like Andy, I'd like to see some justification for a claim that
>falsifiablity is the *only* criterion for judging a theory 'scientific'.
>Steve's present answer doesn't stand up to the Duhem-Quine thesis that any
>single hypothesis is immune to falsification because of its theoretical
>auxiliary hypotheses?  Adjusting assumptions doesn't help you to solve the
>problem!  Another basic question is the one of whether the objective tests
>you devise as your litmus test can be disentangled from the theoretical
>biases of the theory from which they are derived?
>As for the 'critical' element in the social sciences, I recall from
>undergrad Philosophy of Social Sciences that Habermas had something
>interesting to say about it.  Something to do with how far people in their
>communications have the competence to raise questions.  Might it not be,
>then, that positive methodologies imply a closure of debate (rather than an
>invitation to criticism).  After all, restricting the definition of what
>counts as science effectively ensures that alternative voices struggle to
>be heard (don't we know it!).
>In one of his papers Mirowski made a similar point about the futility of
>applying a Lakatosian framework to an evaluation of the 'truths' expounded
>by different schools in economics.  For the simple reason that there is a
>*lack* of agreement between these schools as to what counts as science and
>therefore no commonly held criterion of judgement, and no commonly held
>methodological magic wand for revealing what is to count as 'truth' in the
>first place.  What you take as unproblematic, Steve, is very problematic
>Popper, of course, rejects the view that theories are fundamentally
>incomensurable, remarking caustically on the 'myth of the framework'.  He
>supports his remark only by ignoring any debate about the nature of
>'science' and the nature of 'truth' in his discussions of the nature of the
>'critical stance' - either as critical rationalism or as a critical theory
>of society.  He certainly ignores the political/ideological foundations of
>his own view.  As Adorno points out - in the same book that contains
>Popper's 'Logic' - 'there is more than one ghost in the machine' (p.xv).
>So, does this mean I agree with Andy.  Not necessarily since I don't think
>that Marxian theory should be put above empirical testing.  To say that it
>should be is surely to put up another set of artificial boundaries about
>*what constitutes Marxism as science*.  I prefer to think that the question
>is open to social (re)construction and debate.
Dr. Steve Keen
Senior Lecturer
Economics & Finance
University of Western Sydney Macarthur
Building 11 Room 30,
Goldsmith Avenue, Campbelltown
PO Box 555 Campbelltown NSW 2560
s.keen@uws.edu.au 61 2 4620-3016 Fax 61 2 4626-6683
Home 02 9558-8018 Mobile 0409 716 088
Home Page: http://bus.macarthur.uws.edu.au/steve-keen/

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