Re: [OPE] Special TV report on Venezuela (epistemological and scientific questions)

From: <dogangoecmen@aol.com>
Date: Thu Dec 11 2008 - 12:48:39 EST

Dave:
=====
Let me first say that I too subscribe to the philosophy of scientific realism. However, this seems like a misuse of the word 'scientific' and its application to political analysis. Science is the construction of parsimonious, internally consistent models that can reliably predict observations. A scientifically informed political position must be based on some reliable model of the social process in question, that is often very hard although historical materialism provides a general framework for developing such models.

Dogan:
======
"misuse" is of course a strong claim. I am not sure what you mean by onstruction of "internally consistent models" to predict observations. I was wondering whether you mean by construction some sort of a priori models. If this is the case I guess you use some kind of Kantian concept. To put it into a question whom do you rely on in your theory of scince I have still to clarify many questions in detail concerning the theory of models. But I am not very fond of models. I prefer rather to use the concept of mirror. Mirror theory reflects social structures,relations and their tendencies by generalising and putting them into categories.  I would be interested in what you say: "historical materialism provides a general framework for developing such models". Can you say a bit more on this?

Dogan

-----Ursprüngliche Mitteilung-----
Von: Dave Zachariah <davez@kth.se>
An: Outline on Political Economy mailing list <ope@lists.csuchico.edu>
Verschickt: Di., 9. Dez.
2008, 20:15
Thema: Re: [OPE] Special TV report on Venezuela (epistemological and scientific questions)

on 2008-12-09 08:44 dogangoecmen@aol.com wrote: 
> With regard to Venezuela. You seem to miss that it is not me who > artificially (by exaggerating the situation) tries to radicalise > things. It seems to me that it is the situation that is so radical > there that it puts permanently the question of "defeat" or "victory" > on the agenda. In fact it is not me who says there is no "middle > ground" between government and opposition in Venezuela. If you read > carefully the sentence you quoted below you will see that I am > refering to the BBC report that says that the situation id so radical > in Venezuela and again it is the report that puts the question of > defeat or victory on the agenda (see the concluding remark of the > report). What I am saying therefore is that we must recognise the > reality and try to find ways to change it. This is in fact from my > point of view the only scietific political position. 

> As to epistemological background of my political position: I t hink > you are too quick to call my position dogmatic (I guess you mean by > this *not scientific*) whithout trying to understand epistemological > and scientific background of that position. But I think my position > is epistemologically well-founded and scietifically sanctioned. > Philosophy and all sciences have to do with reality, though they may > differ in what way they are related to t
he reality. In the history of > philosophy and sciences there are mainly three postion about how to > recognise and conserve or change the reality. 
 
Let me first say that I too subscribe to the philosophy of scientific realism. However, this seems like a misuse of the word 'scientific' and its application to political analysis. Science is the construction of parsimonious, internally consistent models that can reliably predict observations. A scientifically informed political position must be based on some reliable model of the social process in question, that is often very hard although historical materialism provides a general framework for developing such models. 
 
//Dave Z 
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Received on Thu Dec 11 12:51:08 2008

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