Re: indirect labor, the real wage, and the production of surplus value

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@STANFORD.EDU)
Date: Fri Nov 14 2003 - 11:51:11 EST

Ajit wrote

>Well! If you are referring to Sraffa's book, then, of
>course, Sraffa is not developing any causal theory
>there. The function of his book is to show that the
>neoclassical supply function, which is built on a
>supposed causal relation between prices and methods of
>production is illegitimate.

So capital is not a factor with a price but an index of
a conflictual social relation?

>  But this does not mean
>that Sraffa is saying that there cannot be any causal
>theory of change.

But are you saying that or implying that below?
Confused here. I thought you were chiding Michael L for not having
a causal theory but then you seem to suggest that attribution of
causes is superstitious?

>  But you should keep it in mind that
>Hume's empiricist philosophy rejected any
>philosophical basis to causality. For Hume causality
>is nothing but a belief or habit of mind. Hume's
>challenge on causation has never been answered. All
>Kant could do is to make the relationship of cause and
>effect a priori. From a logical perspective,
>Wittgenstein in the Tractatus declared that
>'Superstition is nothing but a belief in causal

On a more ontological level Lewontin seems correct that the states
and motions of living organisms are the consequence of many
intersecting causal pathways, thereby making it unusual that normal
variation in any one of these pathways has a strong effect on the
outcome. Given the multiplicity of causal chains, all of weak
individual influence in their normal condition,  it is difficult to
ascribe a cause to some effect since putative cause and its effect
will not likely seen to vary together.

>Mathematical logic does not admit of
>causality. Because no causal proposition can be made
>with certainty.

You are not counting as a piece of mathematical logic or as truly
causal those statistical theories of causality as developed in
thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, Pearsonian regressions, etc?

There is a lot that I would like to read and figure about the theory
of causality in the social sciences: Mario Bunge, Causality;
Causality in Crisis, ed. Stephen Turner, Fritz Ringer Max Weber's
methodology (presumably uses Wesley Salmon's theory of causality),
Max Adler's attempt to differentiate causes that work independently
of consciousness from those that work in consciousness to those that
work through consciousness, Hans Kelsen's attempts to link our
conceptions of causality to juridical notions (I think Stephen P
Turner explores how ideas about attribution in legal sense
undergirded the lawyer Max Weber's notions of causality), Gramsci's
critique of mis application of mechanical causality to social
phenomena. But these are a very different set of concerns than those
that you have helpfully expressed.

It also seems that Keynes gave up on any causal theory of investment, no?

Yours, Rakesh

>Cheers, ajit sinha
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