[OPE-L:5516] Re: Re: Re: William of Ockam's Razor and Political Economy

From: Paul Cockshott (paul@cockshott.com)
Date: Tue May 08 2001 - 05:02:19 EDT

On Tue, 08 May 2001, you wrote:
> 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!

Nicola, I think you have somewhat wandered from the point of your
original argument which was that Value Form theory was to be prefered
on ground so simplicity to alternative theories.

What did you make of the points with respect to that that I made
in my first posting on Occams Razor - basically that if you do not
make any predictions about prices you clearly have a very concise
price theory indeed, but by analogy with weather forecasting this
is equivalent to saying 'I forecast that tomorrows weather will be
whatever it turns out to be', such a concise theory is not terribly
useful in uncovering causal mechanisms or in predicting the 
effects of eventualities.

Paul Cockshott, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland
0141 330 3125  mobile:07946 476966

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