Re: [OPE-L] interpretations of capital and Marx

From: Pen-L Fred Moseley (fmoseley@MTHOLYOKE.EDU)
Date: Fri Mar 16 2007 - 11:22:22 EDT

Quoting ope-admin@RICARDO.ECN.WFU.EDU:

> ---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
> Date: Thu, 15 Mar 2007 16:20:09 +0100
> From: Riccardo Bellofiore <>
> Subject: Re: [OPE-L] interpretations of capital and Marx
> At 10:59 -0400 15-03-2007, Pen-L Fred Moseley wrote:
>>> This does not mean that Marx or Sraffa is necessarily “right”, but that
>>> when there is uncertainty in their writings, which can be interpreted
>>> in different ways, that priority be given to those interpretations that
>>> make the theory internally logically consistent.  To me this seems to
>>> be the most reasonable and the most "fair to the author" way to go.
> This is exactly Kliman's position, referring to
> Stigler's Principle of Textual Exegesis. Stigler
> used it to counter criticism that his
> interpretation was against textual evidence,
> according to other critics.

It is also a widely accepted principle (even with all its difficulties)
in the field of hermeneutics (the interpretation of texts).

> There are many problems with this view.
> Just one. There is no outside "neutral"
> standpoint of evaluation to say which is better.
> Any interpretation is a logical whole, and it
> cannot overimpose itself to the author's true
> text rereading the quotes, or entire volumes
> (like Vol. I).

This principle does not require a "neutral observer".
If one (anyone) concludes that the textual evidence is a "toss-up"
between two interpretations, then it seems to me that a reasonable
and fair (to the author) rule to apply is whichever interpretation
makes the theory as a whole more internally logically consistent.

Which rule would you apply in this case?


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