Re: (OPE-L) Re: Hume and constraint based theories

From: ajit sinha (sinha_a99@YAHOO.COM)
Date: Tue Nov 25 2003 - 00:32:40 EST

Dear Ian, Thanks for your response. But remember the
discussion was about philosophical grounding of
causality, not about what science does. Again whether
one is talking about mechanical or essential
causality: what one believes in is one thing and what
one can establish either logically or empirically is
another. I think causal theorizing will go on and
produce useful results for the society we live in. But
this is a separate issue than a philosophical
grounding of such theories. Remember that in the pre
scientific era many non-causal theories also produced
useful knowledge for their time. I think, my point
about cultural milieu was simply Marxist or rather
historical materialist. No knowledge can be abstracted
from the socio-historical conjecture in which it is
produced—i.e., it cannot have any absolute grounding.
This is what brings us back to Wittgenstein’s theory
of meaning and Sraffa’s Marxist influence on him.
Cheers, ajit sinha
--- Ian Wright <ian_paul_wright@HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:
> Hello Ajit,
> Got round to replying to you. Sorry for the delay.
> Ajit wrote:
> >You have told your model that when
> >one sector receives higher returns for their
> one-hour
> >of labor than the other does some people from the
> >other sector move from their sector to the higher
> >labor-remuneration sector.
> It would be more accurate to say that if one sector
> fails to receive sufficient returns (rather than
> higher
> returns) then some people look for alternative
> employment,
> but not necessarily in the higher
> labour-renumeration
> sector. It is more like a stochastic, parallel
> search for
> gainful employment, rather than a deterministic,
> ordered
> allocation of labour. In this sense, the causality
> is
> much weaker and noisier than most mathematical
> models
> (the assumptions are weaker).
> >But in the real world, outside of the
> >computer, this may not happen. People may not have
> the
> >right information to behave that way. It may not be
> >easy to move from one kind of work to another, so
> the
> >inertia keeps them where they are and after some
> time
> >differential labor remuneration becomes
> conventional.
> Of course, this is entirely possible in reality.
> >The point I'm trying to make is that once you let
> >things move on historical time then you are dealing
> >with infinite variables, but to theorize you need
> to
> >work with a few variables only and assume that the
> >other variables either have no impact on those
> >variables or they remain constant. But both these
> assumptions are
> >ultimately arbitrary.
> I think this issue pivots on scientific method.
> You can think of reality as a hopeless mess of
> unfolding events with no necessary connection
> between them, or you can think of it as structured
> and layered, with potentially identifiable and
> seperable mechanisms, which interact over time
> to generate the appearance of mess. Reality is
> neither completely chaotic or ordered, but seems
> to be "interesting" and complex. Ultimately we
> may have different research programmes. Mine
> assumes that initial abstraction from all possible
> historical determinations, in order to identify
> underlying generative mechanisms, is emphatically
> not an arbitrary procedure, but an essential part
> of the analysis.
> >Thus your theory can never move on real historical
> time. So all
> theories are abstraction from real time.
> Well of course. I don't confuse the theory with
> reality.
> But perhaps you are confusing the real with the
> actual.
> That is confuse the (factual) succession of events
> that occurs with the (transfactual) mechanisms that
> generate them. Or, in older terminology, conflate
> appearence and essence.
> >But what causes prices to move in your model?
> >Differential rates of profit--> movement of
> capital-->
> >changes in supply--> changes in prices toward labor
> >values? Let me ask you one question? What makes you
> >think that changes in supply will not change the
> >values themselves, i.e., on what grounds you think
> >that the methods of production is independent of
> gross
> >output?
> I do not think they are independent, although my
> model
> abstracts from this determination.
> >If you have not implicitly assumed constant
> >returns to scale?
> I've explicitly assumed constant returns to scale.
> (Non-constant returns to scale would change the
> dynamics, and would be an interesting case to
> analyse,
> but I'm fairly certain would not change the fix
> points).
> >What makes you think that these
> >changes in supply will have no impact on labor
> >productivities through learning by doing or some
> other
> >kinds of technical changes?
> I do not think they have no impact, although I
> abstract from these determinations in my model.
> >So your model is not
> >necessarily running on real time. It is running on
> the
> >artificial time of your model. You can learn from
> it
> >but cannot claim to know how real world works. You
> >see!
> No I don't see that at all. Of course all theories,
> whether computational, mathematical, or natural
> language,
> are distinct from the mechanisms and events they
> refer to. And all theories are incomplete, and do
> not include your "infinity" of historical variables.
> Does that mean we cannot make claims about how
> the real world works? No of course not. I wonder
> whether you have a Popperian predictive criteria for
> scientific theories, which may explain why you
> think it hopeless to explain the chaos in causal
> terms. But many scientific theories are explanatory
> rather than predictive, and are concerned with
> possibilities rather than actualities. For example,
> knowing it is possible that an earthquake may occur
> in San Francisco (rather than predicting when it
> will
> happen) allows us to build robust homes etc.
> >Most of economics from Adam Smith onwards
> >believed that there is something like 'natural
> prices'
> >or 'prices of production' around which market
> prices
> >(i.e., real daily prices) fluctuate. Garegnani and
> his
> >followers think that Sraffa's prices are also the
> >natural prices or the center of gravitation of
> market
> >prices. I don't.
> Prices are noisy, and there a huge number of reasons
> for
> particular prices at particular times. But truly
> random phenomena are very rare, often there is
> an underlying signal, which, with work, can be
> detected, and help explain the apparent chaos as
> fluctuations about systematically determined
> trajectories.
> >As I have said, your dynamic theory runs on an
> artificial time not real
> >time. Sometimes it may give a good forecast about
> certain variables and
> >sometimes it may not.
> The computational model of a simple commodity
> economy
> that I developed is not suitable to make any
> economic
> forecasts whatsoever, and I would be stupid to use
> it
> in that way. Again, perhaps you are thinking that
> all
> theories must be immediately predictive, rather than
> employing abstraction to identify underlying
> mechanisms
> which, in reality, do not operate alone but in
> complex
> conjunction with others.
> >But the theories
> >are about convincing others. Given the cultural
> melieu
> >in which you are propounding your theory, it may be
> >highly convincing to others, as your theory may be
> >using assumptions and received knowledge that are
> >highly acceptable in the cultural melieu today. But
> we
> >should keep in mind that 'the world is flat' was a
> >highly convincing theory sometime ago in their
> >cultural melieu. This explains why a major paradigm
> >shift in one area of knowledge has influence on
> other
> >areas of knowledge too. It simply changes the
> cultural
> >melieu.
=== message truncated ===

Do you Yahoo!?
Free Pop-Up Blocker - Get it now

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Nov 26 2003 - 00:00:01 EST