[OPE-L:5582] which theory has the greater explanatory power?

From: Gerald_A_Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@email.msn.com)
Date: Tue May 15 2001 - 08:02:33 EDT

Re Fred's [5569]:

>  I would argue
> that Marx's labor theory of value explains more > phenomena than
value-form  theory.  Marx's
> labor-theory of value explains prices and, most
> importantly, surplus-value; but value-from theory > does not explain these
all-important phenomena.
> So I would say that Marx's labor theory of value > is preferred to
value-form theory because it has
> greater explanatory power.  Value-form
> theory, as I understand it, develops concepts; it > does not determine
quantities.  By contrast,
> Marx's theory both develops concepts and
> determines quantities.  That is why I think that
> Marx's theory has greater
> explanatory power than value-form theory.

Fred argues that his perspective is preferable to
VFT  "because it has greater explanatory power."

How are we to judge, though, which theory has
greater explanatory power?

To answer that question, we must first ask:
what does each theory attempt to explain?

Here I think there is an area of agreement between
Fred's LET (labor embodied theory) and VFT:
both have as their subject matter and seek to
explain the 'object-totality'  of the bourgeois
epoch -- capitalism.  In other words, both seek
to explain the same object (capitalism). Thus,
should we not then judge each theory on its
explanatory power regarding capitalism?

Fred says that because his LET interpretation
explains both concepts and quantities, it is to
be preferred to VFT. Thus Fred reckons "the
score" to be:

LET-Fred    -- 2
VFT             --1

Thus Fred wins "on points", it would seem.

but, let us consider the matter again. Since
both interpretations agree on what the subject
matter to be explained is, then shouldn't we
not only examine the relation of price to value
but *also* the degree to which the theory has
explained the *TOTALITY* of the subject

E.g. lets consider the R/W VFT perspective
(which may differ in some significant ways,
including that described below, from other
VFT perspectives):

* Which theory has greater explanatory power
    re the STATE-FORM?

Hasn't the R/W perspective been extended to
systematically reveal *more* of the nature of
bourgeois society than has Fred's perspective?

Which theory then has greater explanatory
power when we look at the ability of each
theory to explain in a HOLISTIC  sense the inter-
relationships associated with capitalism?

Shouldn't we thus also judge a theory by "how
far it goes" in terms of explaining different
phenomena at different levels of analysis?

If Fred were to counter by claiming that his LET
is CAPABLE of explaining the state-form,
then being the skeptics that we should be, shouldn't
we reply, "Let's see"?   Don't theoretical results
have to first be produced before we know what
a theory is capable of and thus which theory has
better explanatory power in an overall sense?

In solidarity, Jerry

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