Re: Hume

From: ajit sinha (sinha_a99@YAHOO.COM)
Date: Sat Nov 15 2003 - 01:03:15 EST

--- Ian Wright <ian_paul_wright@HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:
> Hello Ajit,
> >If you are referring to Sraffa's book, then, of
> >course, Sraffa is not developing any causal theory
> >there.
> In its typical form it's a constraint-based theory,
> in the sense that it defines a set of logically
> possible
> configurations of an economy given the assumption of
> reproduction and information regarding technical
> constraints
> between commodity types. I agree it is not a causal
> theory.
> The fact that mathematically it is expressed as
> solutions to a set of simultaneous equations (i.e,
> constraints on possible values of variables) is a
> sign
> of that.
> But this isn't a good thing. It's a limitation.
> Although this is not to deny that an initial
> abstraction from change can be illuminating. So I
> think there's no need to justify a constraint-based
> theory by implying that philosophy tells us we
> can't hope to do any better. We can and should build
> dynamic, causal theories of the economy.

True! But Sraffa's project in his book is very
limited. But it tells us a few very important things.
(1) Prices and wages cannot be compared once methods
of production of any basic good changes, since the
theory loses any standard for measurement. Thus any
dynamic theory that admits of changes in methods of
production should not go about camparing prices and
wages in two regimes and coming up with implied causal
relations. But there can be many other variables that
can be logically measured over periods of time with
such changes. One has to know what can be done and
what cannot be.
(2) A theory of value is essentially a timeless
problematic. A dynamic theory of value is bunk. A
problem of asertaining the reasons for changes in the
price of a commodity over a period of time is not a
theory of value but rather an entirely different
(3) There is no essence of value, i.e., value is not
rooted in either labor or utility. It is simply
implicated in a given system of production and
> (As an aside, mathematical logic does admit of
> causality, as computer science has shown, although I
> admit
> this is an obscure point for those not trained in
> computer
> science).
May be that's why I never get along well with my
> >Hume's challenge on causation has never been
> answered.
> There's been lots of answers to Hume, not least Kant
> and Hegel. A modern approach is Bhaskar's critical
> realism, in particular "A Realist Theory of
> Science".
> Related to Andrew's point: he holds that critical
> realism doesn't fully answer Hume either, and that
> to
> fully answer him requires a more forceful identity
> between
> thought and reality.

So my point stays.
> But really it is very silly to deny the reality of
> causal change independent of our knowledge of it.
> And Wittgenstein was regularly quite silly in his
> reduction of ontology to epistemology, his
> empiricism
> of language, and belief that philosophy was
> essentially
> about analysing implicit common-sense theories.
> Here I agree with Popper that philosophy (and
> reality)
> is much more than that.

Well! if you believe in cause then questioning it will
always sound silly. I think wittgenstein was always
interested in finding the limits of language. In
Tractatus he tries to find the logical limits, in the
Investigations he suggests that there are many
internal limits defined by language games, that are
given by the lived experience of human beings. Moving
the meaning of a word from the context of one language
games to another creats nonsense. He thought most of
the philosophical problems were of this nature. At one
place in the Investigations he says that
'philosophical problems arise when language goes on
holiday'. Cheers, ajit sinha
> -Ian.
> Tired of spam? Get advanced junk mail protection
> with MSN 8.

Do you Yahoo!?
Protect your identity with Yahoo! Mail AddressGuard

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Sun Nov 16 2003 - 00:00:01 EST