[OPE-L:4717] Re: value vs potential value

Michael William (mwilliam@compuserve.com)
Thu, 10 Apr 1997 13:55:34 -0700 (PDT)

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> Mike williams
> > 1. Reality is complex, so 'parsimony' may conflict with realism.

Paul C.
> No conflict. Reality is complex but one should not build more complexity
> into ones theory than is necessary.

Necessary for what?

> The principle is that 'entities should not be multiplied without due
> cause',

Is this parsimony of ontological commitment identical the conceptual
parsimony you evoked to rule out the 'value is determined in the
intersection of production and exchange' position?

> What is the due cause for assuming that both price and value vary in
> response
> to demand?

The intuition that value cannot be quantitatively determined in production
alone, backed up by accounts such as Reuten and Williams (1989) value-form
account, whose claim to fame is that they identify more precisely that
which is necessary for the reproduction of the capitalist economy (and more
broadly the bourgeois epoch) as a system, and the insights about the
actuality of manifestations of that system thereby engendered.
> In a marshallian frame work with a rising supply curve one might be
> able to justify it. Is this what you are arguing?

No. Although I do not rule out the contribution of Marshallian analysis to
the understanding of the operation of the market mechanisms that manifest
value-form association.
> > 2. Parsimony is a criterion of theory choice only within the philosophy
> of
> > (natural) science. What is more, this philosophy of science does not
> appear
> > to be central to current (post Quine) concerns of philosophy of
> > that rather seem to be oriented around the debate between 'constructive
> > empiricism' (van Fraassen) and varieties of scientific realism.

> I tend to favour the australian materialist school of Smout, Price etc.

Could you elaborate, briefly?
> > 3. Your naturalism is not self-evident, but needs to argued for.
> >
> Yes, Lenin did this in Materialism and Empiro Criticism.

Without an indication of the key points in this that persuade you, this
looks like an appeal to authority. IMO, whilst a case could be made that
the 'progress' of economics has been largely negative since Marx, 120
years of science and social science, and of further philosophical
reflection upon them *may* just have led to new insights into
epistemological criteria and ontological commitments appropriate to an
understanding of society and economy.

Dr Michael Williams
"Books are Weapons"

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