From: Damsma, D.F. <D.F.Damsma@uva.nl>

Date: Mon Sep 14 2009 - 10:05:38 EDT

Date: Mon Sep 14 2009 - 10:05:38 EDT

'Then, the question, becomes: can these complex, dialectical relationships be satisfactorily expressed mathematically since math (and computer

algorithms) are forms of formal logic?'

Some (e.g. Kosok, Priest and Lachterman) have indeed claimed that Hegel's dialectical logic could be formalized (i.e. a first step towards mathematization can be made at least). Hegel himself seems to contend that dialectical logic encompasses formal logic but surpasses it in both depth and width of analysis. I myself think that neither position is warranted. The two forms of reasoning are reconcilable, but diminishing the one to the other, prevents one from using the full potential of either.

'Can irrationality be satisfactorily understood through mathematical means? And can the relationship between rationality and irrationality as it relates to capitalism be expressed mathematically?'

Agent Based Computational Economics is a promising candidate for this job. Making the most of bounded rationality at the level of agents, these models easily spin into seemingly 'irrational' panics at the level of markets or societies.

Kind regards,

Dirk.

-----Original Message-----

From: ope-bounces@lists.csuchico.edu [mailto:ope-bounces@lists.csuchico.edu] On Behalf Of GERALD LEVY

Sent: maandag 14 september 2009 15:21

To: Outline on Political Economy mailing list

Subject: RE: [OPE] Mistaking Mathematical Beauty for Economic Truth

*> Well, from the arguments I have provided in the past on OPE-L, it
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*> should be clear that I don't think there is any such thing as a
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*> "dialectical logic" (a system of logical rules) independent of a
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*> particular subject matter, though the subject matter may contain
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*> dialectical characteristics which can be discovered upon inquiry.
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Hi Jurriaan:

OK, fair enough. I guess I should have made the question specific to social theory to avoid confusion.

*>- at best you can say that there is such a thing as "dialectical
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*>reasoning" or "dialectical reason" which aims to define the specific
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*>meaning of the subject matter by systematically investigating both
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*>what it is, and what it is not, where understanding both, and the
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*>relationship between them, is essential. As an extreme, Sartre for
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*>example devises a dialectical ontology out of the categories of "Being"
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*>and "Nothingness".
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Then, the question, becomes: can these complex, dialectical relationships be satisfactorily expressed mathematically since math (and computer algorithms) are forms of formal logic?

A simpler question might be: is there anything in social theory that _can't_ be grasped merely through formal logic not because of lack of comprehension on our parts (e.g. mathematical methods which are currently under-developed) but because of the inherent dialectical character of some aspects of social reality?

You mentioned previously the rationality and irrationality of capitalism.

We know that rationality can be expressed mathematically. Can irrationality be satisfactorily understood through mathematical means? And can the relationship between rationality and irrationality as it relates to capitalism be expressed mathematically?

In solidarity, Jerry

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Received on Mon Sep 14 10:14:40 2009

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