[OPE-L:4710] Re: Re: David Yaffe on Ricardo and Marx

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Fri Dec 15 2000 - 21:09:14 EST

re Fred's 4708

>Does "deductive" include or imply the postulation of unobservable
>("metaphysical") entities (e.g. abstract labor) from which explanations or
>conclusions about observable reality are deduced?  In more modern terms,
>does "deductive" mean something like "hypothetico-deductive"?  Are Sieber
>and Marx saying that it is OK for a theory to be "metaphysical" (in the
>above sense), if it is able to deduce conclusions about the real world?

Here Marx seems to be saying no more than that his theory is not 
merely descriptive but explanatory, so that it needs to be logically 
ordered in such a way that there is a rigorous distinction between 
explanans and explanandum.  E.g. the concept of surplus value has to 
come, logically speaking,  before profit in industrial, commercial 
and banking forms.  He does not seem to be commiting himself at this 
point to the possibility of explanatory 'variables' or 'entities' 
being unobservable--and, Fred, I am not sure why and how you think 
abstract labor is unobservable (is it unobservable like 

  Marx does suggest that he does not in idealist fashion logically 
derive, e.g., the necessary forms of profit from the incompleteness 
or contradictions in the concept of surplus value itself. He does not 
begin with concepts; rather he begins with the real relations and 
phenomena of bourgeois society the specification of which depends on 
the inductivist-institutionalist method of a Richard Jones (whose 
great contribution to Marx's method has simply been ignored save by 
Grossman), but to explain the interconnections of these phenomena and 
relations once historically specified and the dynamics to which said 
relations give rise,  Marx notes that he has to make use--as Ricardo 
and Smith quite *imperfectly* did--of explanatory concepts which are 
not themselves part of the explanandum object. I think this is 
probably how Marx sees himself following the deductive method of the 
English school of political economy. It does not follow from this 
however that Marx is assuming a modern hypo-deductive form of 
explanation (most certainly not, Andrew B would argue) or that he is 
not also an inductivist of the Richard Jones type.

Yours, Rakesh

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