[OPE-L:3470] Re: assumptions, assumptions, assumptions

Duncan K. Fole (dkf2@columbia.edu)
Fri, 18 Oct 1996 06:49:10 -0700 (PDT)

[ show plain text ]

In reply to Steve's [OPE-L:3453]:


>There's an excellent short paper by Musgrave (reproduced in Bruce
>Caldwell's book of readings) where he distinguishes between simplifying
>assumptions--where you have to be unrealistic to avoid building a map on
>a scale of 1:1--, domain assumptions and heuristic assumptions.
>A domain assumption is one which says that "this theory works only if
>these assumptions hold". For example, the assumption that there are only
>2 bodies in a planetary system is needed if Newton's model of
>gravitational attraction is to be valid. Bring in 3 bodies, and, of
>course, we get chaos.
>A heuristic assumption is one which is introduced to enable an initial
>model to be constructed, and which will be removed later to achieve
>applicability to the issue under consideration.
>So is v=0 a simplifying, domain, or heuristic assumption?

I view examples and models with v = 0 as "heuristic", and the examination
of them has the aim of clarifying the method of defining the monetary
expression of value. Once we understand what is at issue in this
methodological question, we can try to apply it to real data.


Duncan K. Foley
Department of Economics
Barnard College
New York, NY 10027
fax: (212)-854-8947
e-mail: dkf2@columbia.edu