[OPE-L:5520] Re: Re: William of Ockam's Razor and Political Economy

From: nicola taylor (n.taylor@student.murdoch.edu.au)
Date: Tue May 08 2001 - 22:19:12 EDT

Sorry Andy, these responses are so short and inadequate - don't mean to be
curt, but I'm on the run.... So appologies in advance...

>The 'world' you refer to is that which the thinking head reconstructs 
>/ appropriates, yes? Thus there is a relationship of 'reconstruction' 
>between world and thought, it would seem. The notion of 
>'recontruction' would seem to imply that the elements 
>reconstructed 'in thought' have a close relationship, an 
>isomorphism, to the elements of reality that they 'reconstruct'.  If I 
>'reconstruct' a car, eg in a model of a car, a toy car, then both the 
>original and the recontruction have 4 wheels, engine, etc. Here 
>'reconstruction' makes sense, and there is a one to one 
>connection, indeed an isomorphism (identity of shape) between the 
>reconstructed model car, its various elements, and the real car (its 
>various elements). Without some such relation, it would seem that 
>the term 'reconstruction' is difficult to grasp.

I don't think I implied any of the above: certainly never said that a
theory is a 'reconstruction' of reality.  If there is any reconstruction
going on in value-form theory, it is a reconstruction of Marxian concepts.
On the ontological front, as you know, Chris A has written several superb
papers on the connection between Hegelian logic and the inverted world of
Capitalism, none of which rely upon (a) a concept of 'reconstruction' in
the meanings you set out, or (b) a theory of mind.  On the epistemological
front, a theory of how theory is constructed (a theory of logic) is not,
imo, a theory of mind.

>You basically agreed with Feyerabend, no? 

No.  All I did was summarise positions and say, I suppose we could choose
this criterion, or I suppose we could choose that criterion, or I suppose
we could be incredibly lazy and choose not to choose.  Never said I *agree*
with this or that - certainly never said 'obvious' solutions (eg
Feyerabend's) were the ones anyone should adopt - although it is 'nice' in
it's intentions - level playing field of ideas, etc (that there isn't a
level playing field of ideas is just one of the immediate criticisms, of

>And you did this via a 
>discussion of Lakatos.

I didn't discuss Lakatos at all, just stated a well known position and a
well known objection to it - didn't say I agreed or disagreed. 

>What I was inadequately trying to get at is 
>that you seem to agree with the terms of debate Lakatos and 
>Feyerabend adhere to. Yet, both thinkers fail to recognise an 
>objective world against which ideas are judged. 

Once again my brief set of points stating various positions in philosophy
of science doesn't constitute a commitment to a position.  The commitments
you are attributing to me, I haven't made or defended.  

>My fear is that an 'undogmatic' blossoming of ideas in the absence 
>of any objective reality is, in truth, its own opposite, a terrain of 
>dogmatic assertions each sheltered from criticism in the absence 
>of recognition of the objective world that should be their criterion. 

I chose but *one* aspect of Jerry's multi-sided original question, (I'm
oversimplifying, sorry Jerry) - this aspect was the sub-question of whether
we could *agree* on some set of *criteria* for judging *theories against
theories* - other than the razor principle, or by reference to empirical
reality?  The point of my post was just to say 'probably not'.

Hope this clarifies, albeit inadequately.

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

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