[OPE-L:6622] Re: what is the more important question?

From: nicola taylor (n.taylor@student.murdoch.edu.au)
Date: Thu Feb 21 2002 - 23:28:20 EST

Re Jerry's questions (below):

1.  If two theories (Y and Z) purport to explain subject 'C' it must be
assumed that the principle intention of BOTH is to explain 'C'

2.  The most IMPORTANT question is then Jerry's 2) which theory BEST
explains 'C'?  The SUBSIDIARY and related question is Jerry's 1) how does
each theory explain 'C'?  It seems logical to suppose that we need to ask
the 'how' question in order to ask the 'best' question. 


3.  This introduces a knotty new question: WHAT CRITERIA do the advocates
of Theory Y and Theory Z use to compare their theories?  Do they agree on
the criteria for evaluation?  What makes it possible to conclude that one
theory is BETTER than the competing one at explaining 'C'?  

To put it another way.  Can the advocates of Theory Y and Theory Z AGREE on
criteria for judging the comparative worth of their different theories?  If
the answer is YES and all participants are rational, one theory will to be
abandoned by unanimous agreement (a paradigm shift); If the answer is NO
then competing theories of 'C' will coexist, because no common agreement on
what is the 'scientific' way to judge which is better!  


A simple question for all:
Suppose that there are two theories that purport to explain 
Subject 'C'. 
Theory A developed by 'Y' predates Theory B developed by
Z's Theory B was 'inspired' by Y's Theory A.
There are (at least) 2 questions that have been raised:
1) what exactly was Y's Theory A?
    This has been discussed by advocates of both A
    and B.
2) is Theory B  'better than'  Theory A or vice versa? 
    Those who argue that Theory B is _different from_
    Theory A (a point that many advocates of Theory
    B openly acknowledge) have occasionally stated
    that Theory B "MAY BE BETTER" than Theory
    A but that is not their main concern which is 1)
Is it more important to understand C (the subject
matter) or Y's Theory A (which 'inspired'  Z's Theory
*Which is the more important question: 1) or 2)?*
Unless one thinks that a history of thought
question  is  more important than comprehending the 
subject matter itself (C),  isn't  2) necessarily the 
primary and most important question?
In solidarity, Jerry

Nicola Taylor
Faculty of Economics
Murdoch University
South Street
W.A. 6150

Tel. 61 8 9385 1130 
email: n.taylor@stu.murdoch.edu.au

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