[OPE-L:1391] Re: Math, methodology and political economy

glevy@acnet.pratt.edu (glevy@acnet.pratt.edu)
Fri, 8 Mar 1996 21:52:13 -0800

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Gil wrote in [OPE-L:1389]:

> This is not a question of "real" vs "unreal". Formal analysis can
> address real, and for that matter dynamic, and up to a point, contradictory
> phenomena as well.

Up to *what* point can formal mathematical models be used to address
dynamic and contradictory phenomena?

> There are also important modes of inquiry within
> political economy which cannot be "replicated by dialectical means."

For instance?

> Using formal method in social science does not imply that one is
> using "the same methods as physics or chemistry."

Agreed, but there are some who believe that one *can* use the same
methods of analysis in chemistry, physics, and political economy.

> > Are there not inherent problems
> > and limitations with such a method that stem from the nature of the
> > algebra used?
> Yes. And one could pose a parallel question, yielding the same
> affirmative answer, by substituting "dialectical method" into the
> foregoing question.

Then, what are the inherent problems and limitations of the "dialectical

> I'm not sure about this imagery (biting on a can of worms? Yuch),
> but there it is.

The fish must be biting on the Thames near the birthplace of Benedict
Arnold. Time to reel them in.

In OPE-L Solidarity,