Re: [OPE-L] [Jurriaan] Derrida's ghosts

From: Paul Zarembka (zarembka@BUFFALO.EDU)
Date: Sun Nov 06 2005 - 10:23:39 EST

France burns and Derrida's ghosts are discussed. Paul Z.

RESEARCH IN POLITICAL ECONOMY,  Paul Zarembka, editor,  Elsevier Science

On Sun, 6 Nov 2005 glevy@PRATT.EDU wrote:

> ---------------------------- Original Message ------------------------
> Subject: Derrida's ghosts
> From:    "Jurriaan Bendien" <>
> Date:    Sun, November 6, 2005 7:01 am
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> For what it's worth, I took an interest in complexity theory twenty years
> ago, when I studied Ernest Mandel's interpretation of Marx's economics
> (see Ernest Mandel, 'Partially independent variables and internal logic
> in classical Marxist economic analysis', in Social Science Information
> vol. 24 no. 3 (1985), pp. 487-88 reprinted in Ulf Himmelstrand, Interfaces
> in Economic & Social Analysis, London 1992).
> But a lot of talk about complexity theory, especially in social science,
> is I think really based on:
> -a confusion about the purpose of theory
> -a confusion about the method of obtaining knowledge.
> Theory properly understood is generalisations about experiences which are,
> however, not reducible to those experiences (as in naive empiricism of
> the "covering law" type). A generalisation is a simplification of sorts.
> The point of theory is not to "theorise complexity", but to identify
> those salient aspects of a complex reality that can explain it or make it
> comprehensible; the best scientific theory is the simplest theory with
> the greatest explanatory power.
> Of course, obscurantists start talking "complexity" when they haven't
> studied the facts, and cannot explain them; that is a sort of speculative
> philosophy, propagated by people who think themselves very
> "sophisticated".
> I think also that really the best way to learn to understand so-called
> "complexity" is just to live your own life, and reflect on your own
> experience of it. For the rest, I'm happy to leave the summarising of
> complexity theories about complexity to my doppelganger Joshua Goldstein,
> who sells a lot of books that way :-).
> Jurriaan

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