[OPE-L:5513] Re: Re: William of Ockam's Razor and Political Economy

From: nicola taylor (n.taylor@student.murdoch.edu.au)
Date: Tue May 08 2001 - 03:28:07 EDT

I am almost certain that any criterion advanced to distinguish between
competing theories will *itself* be disputed.  Some of us will never be
convinced by any theory that involves a fallacy of composition (thanks for
explaining the origins of the debate, Rakesh).  Some of us will never be
convinced that language/theory/fact can be anything other than a
construction/reconstruction in thought, a product of the 'thinking head'
appropriating the world as best it can, but never perfectly (imho, *all*
theories - not only value-form theories - are appropriations of empirical
experience and existing theories, and thus imperfect understandings of
reality).  We could, I suppose, adopt a Lakatosian principle and ask
whether the labour (embodied) theory of value engenders a progressive
research paradigm, spawning new and important insights into contemporary
capitalism; but who is to decide what is new, important, progressive?  A
knotty problem in any debate.  One obvious solution, I suppose, is to
choose not too choose: an undogmatic blossoming of ideas, a la Feyerabend -
now there's 'something nice' to put on the banner!

For myself, I much agree with the criteria put forward by Howard:

>We would want to know first what
>account gives a more comprehensive rendering of concrete phenomena (as I
>understand it value form theory would agree with that) and then also which
>theory was capable of grounding a metacritique (a) of alternate theories
>and (b) of itself. 

The last, (b), is most often overlooked it seems.  


Nicola Mostyn (Taylor)
Faculty of Economics
Murdoch University
Telephone: 61-8-9385 1130

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