Re: [OPE-L] Anita's Chocolate Cake

From: Jerry Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Sun Nov 20 2005 - 23:51:47 EST

Hi Howard,

I guess I must have misunderstood a number of points of your
posts.  I apologize.


JERRY:  That is, there
is a different role for chance and surprise depending on the level
of abstraction of the analysis, i.e. as we proceed to reconstruct a
subject matter in thought the role of chance which is often assumed
not to exist except as potential at a more abstract level of
abstraction,  must be considered when we analyze a phenomena
in its most concrete, specific form. END QUOTE.
If it's legitimate for me to substitute "surprise" for "chance" in your second 
use of the word "chance", I'm interested in what it means for surprise (or 
chance) to exist only "as potential at a more abstract level of abstraction."  
This is interesting.


Thanks for the question.

What I meant by that is that when assumptions are made at one
level of abstraction which treat variables as if they were constant
then one has created the potential for "surprise" at a more concrete
level of abstraction.  In assuming a variable to be constant, within the
context of a layered presentation of a subject matter, one has already
created a condition where there is a potential for surprise.  Now, I
suppose you could ask whether the 'surprise' in the presentation is
a 'real surprise'  for the author or just a surprise for the 'reader'. I
think it _should be_ the case that if one has already thought out the
whole of the subject matter before writing, then the only surprises
should be for readers.  But,  this is not always the case with authors.  
I doubt that it was the case totally with Marx's political economy.
Even when one thinks one knows what one wants to say and how it
all fits together before putting pen to paper,  there are often some
surprises that occur for authors in the writing process.  Maybe there
are many of you that have had such 'surprises'.  If so, I'd love to 
hear about them.

In solidarity, Jerry

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