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A critical review of David Graeber's Debt

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LBird
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Oct 15 2012 18:50
In Modern Science and Anarchism, Peter Kropotkin wrote:
The scientific method (the method of natural scientific induction)...

This was published in 1903, comrade.

We've had over another 100 years of the philosophy of science, and 'induction' has been totally discredited.

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Khawaga
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Oct 15 2012 19:37
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I have seen Graber state that his analysis has some room for a Kropotkin's ideal of a “ money-less”/ “ wage-less” economy.

What "Marxists" want to keep money and the wage? I mean obviously there are some, but the bearded fella was pretty clear on that particular issue.

jolasmo
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Oct 15 2012 19:48
LBird wrote:
We've had over another 100 years of the philosophy of science, and 'induction' has been totally discredited.

Erm, fairly sure you're wrong on that one.

~J.

snipfool
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Oct 15 2012 19:53

What are you on about, LBird? Are you saying anything more than that science typically starts with a hypothesis and then thinking about the type of data you need to collect in order for the hypothesis to possibly be falsified or corroborated? I think duskflesh is saying that some either don't bother to state this and so are never pinned down by data, or - having stated it - throw away data if it fails to go in the direction they expected. I can't see how that is part of the scientific method, I'm probably missing something.

LBird
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Oct 15 2012 19:55
jolasmo wrote:
...fairly sure...

Induction at its best!

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Railyon
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Oct 15 2012 20:14
snipfool wrote:
[...]some either don't bother to state this and so are never pinned down by data, or - having stated it - throw away data if it fails to go in the direction they expected. I can't see how that is part of the scientific method, I'm probably missing something.

Easy, if data contradicts your theory it's unscientific and you try again until it fits. If it just won't, reality is shit out of luck because a priori statements are always true.

Works for the Austrian school, at least...

duskflesh
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Oct 16 2012 00:46

Railyon seems to get exactly what I’am saying

The reason I mentioned that data is based on preselecting what is relevant to economics is that lbird seems to be implying that because economics is based on preselecting what is relevant data to develop theory’s somehow it is the same thing as applying your theory to the data instead of developing theory from the data. Everyone from Marx to Kropotkin to Bourgeoisie economists agree on this, no one would believe that how many flies landed on a desk is very relevant to economics(unless it if proven first). But my main point is that neo-classical and Marxist economics and don’t draw their conclusion from discovering patterns from the data (or even history) but rather project their preconceived theories to the data.

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jura
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Oct 16 2012 06:37
duskflesh wrote:
But my main point is that neo-classical and Marxist economics and don’t draw their conclusion from discovering patterns from the data (or even history) but rather project their preconceived theories to the data.

I think this is very wrong. There is quite a lot of empirical work done by marxists. For a recent example, see the thread on Kliman. For a historical example, see Marx's notebooks from the 1850s.

LBird
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Oct 16 2012 07:38
jura wrote:
duskflesh wrote:
But my main point is that neo-classical and Marxist economics and don’t draw their conclusion from discovering patterns from the data (or even history) but rather project their preconceived theories to the data.

I think this is very wrong. There is quite a lot of empirical work done by marxists.

jura is correct, here.

Marxists do 'empirical work' on data selected by Marxist theory.

Neo-classicals do 'empirical work' on data selected by Neo-classical theory.

Phenomenologists do 'empirical work' on data selected by Phenomenological theory.

No-one merely 'discovers patterns from the data'. 'Patterns' emerge from 'theoretical presuppositions'. 'Data' doesn't offer itself to a passive mind. Popper called this 'the bucket theory of mind', where supposedly 'nature' pours itself in a mere receptacle. Popper contrasts this with 'the searchlight theory of mind', where the human mind is an active part of the process of cognition.

'Induction' is dead, since at least Karl Popper, and Thomas Kuhn and Imre Lakatos agree.

The scientific method proceeds from human theory to selected data by active testing and reassessment. And very often, if the 'results' from the 'selected data' conflict with the 'theory', it is the 'data' which is rejected, or 'results' changed to fit the 'theory'.

This is the scientific method, not 'induction'. Humans and their ideas are at the heart of science.

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georgestapleton
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Oct 16 2012 11:55
duskflesh wrote:
But my main point is that neo-classical and Marxist economics and don’t draw their conclusion from discovering patterns from the data (or even history) but rather project their preconceived theories to the data.

Hmmm, Stuztle's review encouraged me to buy not one but two (!) copies of Debt and I finished it last week. I find it quite odd that this discussion has turned to methodology and induction/fidelity to data/history because, although I think it's a good book and worth reading, this is precisely one of the major problems with the book.

As Old Grey Beard said:

Quote:
Bourgeois society is the most developed and the most complex historic organization of production. The categories which express its relations, the comprehension of its structure, thereby also allows insights into the structure and the relations of production of all the vanished social formations out of whose ruins and elements it built itself up, whose partly still unconquered remnants are carried along within it, whose mere nuances have developed explicit significance within it, etc. Human anatomy contains a key to the anatomy of the ape. The intimations of higher development among the subordinate animal species, however, can be understood only after the higher development is already known. The bourgeois economy thus supplies the key to the ancient, etc. But not at all in the manner of those economists who smudge over all historical differences and see bourgeois relations in all forms of society. One can understand tribute, tithe, etc., if one is acquainted with ground rent. But one must not identify them. Further, since bourgeois society is itself only a contradictory form of development, relations derived from earlier forms will often be found within it only in an entirely stunted form, or even travestied. For example, communal property. Although it is true, therefore, that the categories of bourgeois economics possess a truth for all other forms of society, this is to be taken only with a grain of salt. They can contain them in a developed, or stunted, or caricatured form etc., but always with an essential difference.

And in Debt Graeber says at a number of points that we can't use contemporary concepts of debt and then apply them back onto pre-capitalist society or even society in which money is not the dominant form of social mediation. But he does pretty much that.

I just don't think the concept 'debt' is meaningful in the way that he uses it. He uses it to both mean any kind of social or interpersonal obligation and monetary indebtedness. (And I get that his point is that it goes the other way around, that debt is a social or interpersonal obligation that is the basis on which monetary indebtedness becomes possible.) But I just find it too much.

I think it completely flattens social life out to say that both me wanting to do my fair share of cleaning in my house and the mortgage that my landlord has are both forms of 'debt'. It's making the concept of 'debt' do too much work.

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Khawaga
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Oct 16 2012 15:57

I don't 'like' to agree with LBird (we have a history), but in comment #100 he is spot on. In short, this belief that all theory is or should be so-called "grounded" (i.e. rising from the data) goes against how scientists actually do research. Duskflesh's version of science is very idealistic. Sure this is what we're told science should be, but in practice researchers have to limit themselves otherwise they would be producing data (collecting data is a misnomer) forever.

LBird
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Oct 16 2012 16:29
Khawaga wrote:
I don't 'like' to agree with LBird (we have a history), but in comment #100 he is spot on.

Ah, no, just a mere tiff! Thanks for the imprimatur, comrade!

Khawaga wrote:
In short, this belief that all theory is or should be so-called "grounded" (i.e. rising from the data) goes against how scientists actually do research.

'Grounded theory', the method recommended even today by universities to PhD students, is complete and utter tosh. The so-called 'academics' who push this nonsense are, in effect, uneducated morons, outside of their 'speciality'.

Khawaga wrote:
Duskflesh's version of science is very idealistic. Sure this is what we're told science should be...

It's no less than the crap we're taught at school about 'science'. Y'know, 'facts', 'truth', etc. - a justification for bourgeois authority, that's all.

All Communists should study the philosophy of science, rather than believing the fairy stories told at school about 'science'.

Khawaga wrote:
...but in practice researchers have to limit themselves otherwise they would be producing data (collecting data is a misnomer) forever.

Yeah, 'selection' according to prior theory is an inescapable part of the scientific method. The sooner a researcher accepts this, and exposes their theoretical assumptions to all, the better for science. This 'exposure' is the nearest we can get to any form of 'objectivity'. 'Truth' is always social and partial. This scientific stance helps to undermine respect for 'authority' in all its manifestations, including that of 'scientists'. Modern-day priests, most of them.

Once more, thanks for the support, Khawaga.

snipfool
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Oct 16 2012 17:25
LBird wrote:
All Communists should study the philosophy of science, rather than believing the fairy stories told at school about 'science'.

I'd be interested to hear what a communist science teacher (Choccy?) thinks about this.

Quote:
Yeah, 'selection' according to prior theory is an inescapable part of the scientific method.

Hold on, I need to be clear on exactly what you're saying when you say this and also when you said earlier that "They will reject data when it contradicts their assumptions" is part of the scientific method.

I agree that existing theory and your own unwitting assumptions will limit a decision first about what you want to investigate and secondly what type of data to collect, what data is going to be relevant to that hypothesis, how and where it's to be collected and so on. Sometimes this works in ways that are beneficial for properly narrowing the focus of the study - e.g. "Why would I collect data about the stock market when I'm investigating the rate of a new enzyme's reactions?" - and sometimes in ways that prevent new ideas. What if stock markets do affect this new enzyme's reactions?

But that's not how I originally understood what you meant. Say it was decided that temperature is going to be part of the data collected on the new enzyme study - based on existing theory - and one of the experimenters then assumes a particular result - that it would be fastest at 40C. If they were to reject data that showed actually it was fastest at 60C, I wouldn't say that it was part of the scientific method but fraudulent. Are you claiming that that is an acceptable part of the scientific method? Or something more like what I described above? I know these are simple and stupid examples, perhaps you can work around that.

LBird
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Oct 16 2012 17:44
snipfool wrote:
I agree that existing theory and your own unwitting assumptions will limit a decision first about what you want to investigate and secondly what type of data to collect, what data is going to be relevant to that hypothesis, how and where it's to be collected and so on.

Phwww! Given that list, I'd say you're already with the program, snipfool!

snipfool wrote:
Sometimes this works in ways that are beneficial for properly narrowing the focus of the study...

Ahhhh... back to square one! Who or what defines 'beneficial' and 'proper'? Common sense? Vague predilection? Aunty Mary?

No, what's 'beneficial and proper' will be predetermined by the theory (paradigm or research programme, to use Kuhn's and Lakatos' terminology).

snipfool wrote:
...and sometimes in ways that prevent new ideas.

Bingo! Fancy 'science' preventing 'new ideas' - who'd've thought that, eh, given the shite we're told about 'science' and its 'infallible' method. You're already most of the way there, snipfool - draw the correct 'scientific' conclusion: 'doubt' is inescapable for human enquiry, before, during and after.

snipfool wrote:
If they were to reject data that showed actually it was fastest at 60C, I wouldn't say that it was part of the scientific method but fraudulent. Are you claiming that that is an acceptable part of the scientific method?

Firstly, often that's exactly what happens - some other factor is blamed for the 'wrong' result.

Secondly, 'fraud'? In science? Are you asking that as a joke, or have you really led a sheltered life?

Let's see: can anyone else dig out examples of 'fraud in science' (and the various reasons for it), before I do?

LBird
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Oct 16 2012 18:54

One example of scientific fraud: Paul Kammerer and the Midwife Toad:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Kammerer

wikipedia wrote:
Kammerer succeeded in making midwife toads breed in the water by increasing water temperatures, and reported that his midwife toads were exhibiting black nuptial pads on their feet. While the prehistoric ancestors of midwife toads had these pads, Kammerer considered this an acquired characteristic brought about by adaptation to environment.[1] Claims arose that the result of the experiment had been falsified. The most notable of these claims was made by Dr. G. K. Noble, Curator of Reptiles at the American Museum of Natural History, in the scientific journal Nature. Noble claimed that the black pads actually had a far more mundane explanation: it had simply been injected there with Indian ink.[2] Six weeks later, Kammerer committed suicide in the forest of Schneeberg.

snipfool
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Oct 16 2012 19:07
LBird wrote:
snipfool wrote:
I agree that existing theory and your own unwitting assumptions will limit a decision first about what you want to investigate and secondly what type of data to collect, what data is going to be relevant to that hypothesis, how and where it's to be collected and so on.

Phwww! Given that list, I'd say you're already with the program, snipfool!

snipfool wrote:
Sometimes this works in ways that are beneficial for properly narrowing the focus of the study...

Ahhhh... back to square one! Who or what defines 'beneficial' and 'proper'? Common sense? Vague predilection? Aunty Mary?

No, what's 'beneficial and proper' will be predetermined by the theory (paradigm or research programme, to use Kuhn's and Lakatos' terminology).

I am agreeing that the decisions around what type of data is relevant to a study, thus giving it some focus, are determined by the scientist's knowledge of existing theory, personal hunches and assumptions, etc.

In your posts and also Khawaga's (who agrees with you) there is the idea that if the scientific method is to be practiced at all then it needs to make these decisions to impose limits. See:
"but in practice researchers have to limit themselves otherwise they would be producing data (collecting data is a misnomer) forever."
"Yeah, 'selection' according to prior theory is an inescapable part of the scientific method. "

So either you don't think science should be practiced at all or you think that when it's practiced it has to be focussed in some way, right? When I talked about focussing it in a 'beneficial and proper' way I meant in the sense that it actually allows it to get off the ground and head in a direction. At the same time I very consciously gave an example where an ostensibly irrelevant type of data is disregarded and called it 'beneficial and proper' - no more questions, right? Aha!! The point is that I then go back and say well actually, if stock markets do have an effect, then this is actually a case where assumptions have hidden a new discovery. But it's impossible to always second guess your most basic assumptions and do science, right?

New discoveries are being 'hidden' every second I do anything that is not everything!

Quote:
snipfool wrote:
If they were to reject data that showed actually it was fastest at 60C, I wouldn't say that it was part of the scientific method but fraudulent. Are you claiming that that is an acceptable part of the scientific method?

Firstly, often that's exactly what happens - some other factor is blamed for the 'wrong' result.

Secondly, 'fraud'? In science? Are you asking that as a joke, or have you really led a sheltered life?

I think you were pretty quick to misrepresent what I'd written there!

I'm not saying that there isn't fraud in practice. Of course there fucking is. I was querying your view on how the scientific method should be practiced and what is acceptable. You said that "They will reject data when it contradicts their assumptions" was part of the scientific method, as if it should be and that it was acceptable to you. I wasn't sure whether you meant in a fraudulent and conscious sense of throwing away data you previously thought would be relevant, or in the inescapable predetermined way of ignoring data you never assumed to be relevant. I'm pretty sure by now that you mean the latter. And that's cool. We agree.

Quote:
Let's see: can anyone else dig out examples of 'fraud in science' (and the various reasons for it), before I do?

Hopefully no one else is foolish enough to misunderstand me tongue

Sorry for the derail...

LBird
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Oct 16 2012 19:21
snipfool wrote:
I'm pretty sure by now that you mean the latter. And that's cool. We agree.

So, no more talk about 'theory' emerging from data or induction? Good.

All science is biased. Exposing our biases is the nearest we can get to 'objectivity'.

Science doesn't produce 'the Truth'.

Perhaps you've read me arguing before about the necessity of 'democratising' science? I think that that is one of the ways in which Communist science will, in the future, differ from today's bourgeois science.

Democracy in research funding, in research practice and in estimating research results. We have to get away from the 'brilliant individual/scientific genius' model. Science is a social activity in all its aspects.

Science can't get away from the 'human' element, for good or bad.

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Croy
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Oct 16 2012 21:31
LBird wrote:
snipfool wrote:
I'm pretty sure by now that you mean the latter. And that's cool. We agree.

So, no more talk about 'theory' emerging from data or induction? Good.

All science is biased. Exposing our biases is the nearest we can get to 'objectivity'.

Science doesn't produce 'the Truth'.

Perhaps you've read me arguing before about the necessity of 'democratising' science? I think that that is one of the ways in which Communist science will, in the future, differ from today's bourgeois science.

Democracy in research funding, in research practice and in estimating research results. We have to get away from the 'brilliant individual/scientific genius' model. Science is a social activity in all its aspects.

Science can't get away from the 'human' element, for good or bad.

This

duskflesh
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Oct 16 2012 21:45

i can't help but feel horribly miss interpreted

ok i will let the other bearded man speak

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Likewise, when certain economists tell us that "in a perfectly free market the price of commodities is measured by the amount of labor socially necessary for their production," we do not take this assertion on faith because it is made by certain authorities or because it may seem to us "tremendously socialistic." It may be so, we say. But do you not notice that by this very statement you maintain that value and the necessary labor are proportional to each other--just as the speed of a falling body is proportional to the number of seconds it has been falling? Thus you maintain a quantitative relation between these two magnitudes; whereas a quantitative relation can be proved only by quantitative measurements. To confine yourself to the remark that the exchange-value of commodities "generally" increases when a greater expenditure of labor is required, and then to assert that therefore the two quantities are proportional to each other, is to make as great a mistake as the man who would assert that the quantity of rainfall is measured by the fall of the barometer below its average height. He who first observed that, generally speaking, when the barometer is falling a greater amount of rain falls than when it is rising; or, that there is a certain relation between the speed of a falling stone and the height from which it fell--that man surely made a scientific discovery. But the person who would come after him and assert that the amount of rain fall is measured by the fall of the barometer below its average height, or that the space through which a falling body has passed is proportional to the time of fall and is measured by it,--that person would not only talk nonsense, but would prove by his very words that the method of scientific research is absolutely strange to him; that his work is unscientific, full as it may be of scientific expressions. The absence of data is, clearly, no excuse. Hundreds, if not thousands, of similar relationships are known to science in which we see the dependence of one magnitude upon another--for example, the recoil of a cannon depending upon the quantity of powder in the charge, or the growth of a plant depending upon the amount of heat or light received by it; but no scientific man will presume to affirm the proportionality of these magnitudes without having investigated their relations quantitatively, and still less would he represent this proportionality as a scientific law. In most instances the dependence is very complex--as it is, indeed, in the theory of value. The necessary amount of labor and value are by no means proportional.

The same remark refers to almost every economic doctrine that is current to-day in certain circles and is being presented with wonderful naivety as an invariable law. We not only find most of these so-called laws grossly erroneous, but maintain also that those who believe in them will themselves become convinced of their error as soon as they come to see the necessity of verifying their quantitative deductions by quantitative investigation.

there is 2 steps here, they are both very different and mixing the two up is a mistake:
1) selecting relevant things in regards to your inquiry(this should ideally be an open project, open to revision...there might even be a theory here to help you pick you pick out data)
2)out of all the facts developing a theory to explain them. This is where Kropotkin's critique lies. Instead of developing a theory from the data to explain the patterns in the data Marxist and neo-classical economists start with their preconceived theories. Basically they all believe that their preconceived theories of economics have priority over the data and reality.

if you would want to see how Marxist history of economy is wrong, look at Karl Polanyi.

LBird
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Oct 17 2012 07:32
duskflesh wrote:
i can't help but feel horribly miss interpreted

We're not 'misinterpreting' you, duskflesh. We're very clear about what you are arguing. You are claiming that 'induction' is the correct method for science. 'Induction' is the claim that 'theory' comes from 'data'.

duskflesh wrote:
out of all the facts developing a theory to explain them. This is where Kropotkin's critique lies.

If so, Kropotkin is wrong, according to modern philosophers of science since Karl Popper.

'Facts' come from the 'theory'. This is the scientific method.

duskflesh wrote:
selecting relevant things in regards to your inquiry(this should ideally be an open project, open to revision...there might even be a theory here to help you pick you pick out data

'Selecting'? 'Pick out'? What provides the parameters of 'selection', the notions of what to 'pick out'? It must be pre-existing 'theory'. If one doesn't acknowledge this, and openly declare one's biases, they creep in unexamined. The parameters of selection become 'common sense' and 'the bleedin' obvious'. This is why 'induction' is a conservative method.

duskflesh wrote:
Instead of developing a theory from the data to explain the patterns in the data Marxist and neo-classical economists start with their preconceived theories. Basically they all believe that their preconceived theories of economics have priority over the data and reality.

1. No-one 'develops theory from data to explain': this is 'induction', and is totally discredited.

2. Everyone 'starts with their preconceived theories'.

3. The notion that 'data and reality' are able to be simply accessed to tell us 'the Truth' without human interpretation and understanding is 'positivism'. This philosophy has been discredited since Einstein in the early 1900s.

These are difficult issues, comrade, and I implore you to re-read the relevant posts on this thread.

Antonio de cleyre
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Oct 18 2012 09:44

To pick an anti-inductivist idea at random, let's consider falsificationism (Popper's view- from which the rest of his ideas can't be disentangled) may be true, but a lot amateur philosophers seem to think it's obviously true in the way 2+2=4 is true. It's not. The great majority of people who have spent a long time considering it, informed by a background of knowledge of the topic (i.e. professional philosophers of science), have concluded it's false. This has been the case for many decades now. Far be it from me to make an argument from authority- Popper may be right- but it's not the kind of thing you can blithely assume without argument, or if you do assume it, you have to acknowledge it's your assumption and not pretend that you're representing the common opinion of philosophers who have thought about science.

I don't mind falsificationism, and other forms of rejection of standard scientfic realism (and falsificationism does amount to a rejection of realism, though a lot of its supporters don't realise this). I just wish people would acknowledge that it's a position that they have to argue for, or at least admit it's an assumption. It's bizzare to have worked in a field (phil of science) and to have other people think that the most popular view in your field (scientfic realism) is so absurd as to not be worth arguing against.

Antonio de cleyre
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Oct 18 2012 09:46

(BTW, thinking of the fight over realism -which is what seems to be happening here- is the same as a fight over inductivism- is a bad way to conceptualise it).

radicalgraffiti
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Oct 18 2012 11:08

i'd never heard of falsification or inductivism before but it seems fairly obvious that neither is adequate in describing how science is done, and that philosophy of science is probably a wast of time.

in practice

problem --> theory --> experiment/data collection --> process results --> theory confirmed/refuted/new problems

or

problem --> experiment/data collection --> process results --> propose theory/rule based on date

are both valid, and the process is often a cycle and not a liner procedure, with steps also being done out of order and/or in parallel

Antonio de cleyre
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Oct 18 2012 13:35

"i'd never heard of falsification or inductivism before but it seems fairly obvious that neither is adequate in describing how science is done, and that philosophy of science is probably a wast of time."

Congratulations on writing one of the most arrogant paragraphs conceivable. You begin by pronouncing that you've never previously thought about two ideas, go on to pronounce that neither is correct, and then pronounce a whole sub-discipline worthless. Further, the rest of your comment suggests you understand neither idea. This is the intellectual equal of saying that communism is impossible because your little brother and sister can't share.

Philosophy is a technical area of study that has been honed over two and a half millenia of development. Many thousands of philosophical papers are published each year. It's commendable for people to have their own opinions on philosophy but an opinion without putting in the research leaves you in no position to declare a field rubbish.

radicalgraffiti
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Oct 18 2012 15:28

i did actual look them up before i said that, and i found the descriptions/explanations did not match my experience of science, while both are partly true.

I don't think the age of philosophy is really relevant, religion is far older, this doesn't make it in any way valid.

I did wonder how many scientists study philosophy of science and how many philosophers take part in science? i certainly never encountered anyone why studying philosophy on my physics course when i was studying it, although this is not a scientific study.

LBird
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Oct 18 2012 15:29
radicalgrafitti wrote:
i'd never heard of falsification or inductivism before but it seems fairly obvious that neither is adequate in describing how science is done, and that philosophy of science is probably a wast of time.

in practice

problem --> theory --> experiment/data collection --> process results --> theory confirmed/refuted/new problems

or

problem --> experiment/data collection --> process results --> propose theory/rule based on date

are both valid, and the process is often a cycle and not a liner procedure, with steps also being done out of order and/or in parallel

In fact, radicalgrafitti, you're wrong, because neither of the above models are correct.

As we've discussed already, theory always comes first.

'Theory' detemines what is considered to be a 'problem' in the first place. Given that the second of your models is completely wrong (theory can't emerge from data - humans ask question of 'data', 'data' doesn't talk to humans), even the first is a misrepresentation.

Using your outline, it should look something like:

Theory --> problem --> experiment/data collection --> process results --> theory confirmed/refuted/developed

As you correctly say, though, it is a continuous cyclical process. There is clearly more to be said, but for now this is helpful enough for those struggling to get their heads around an unfamiliar stance, which contradicts the bourgeois ideology of science with which we are all pre-programmed at school and by the media, which has the aim to help reinforce state authority.

radicalgraffiti
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Oct 18 2012 15:57

i think your wrong about that, there are numerous examples of things being discoverer though examine the date for something else, eg the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_microwave_background_radiation

ideology, and existing theories influence what kinds of theories scientists consider, and what kind of experiment they do, but this is not the same as the theory leading to the problem, rather pre-existing theory and other ideas help select how problems are perceived.

the media and its presentation of science really doesn't have a lot to do with the actual practice of science.

david graeber
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Oct 18 2012 18:36
Quote:
I think it completely flattens social life out to say that both me wanting to do my fair share of cleaning in my house and the mortgage that my landlord has are both forms of 'debt'. It's making the concept of 'debt' do too much work.

I think you miss the point I was trying to make. I'm not saying that all obligations should be thought of as "debts." I'm trying to understand how it has come about that we can even imagine that they could be thought of in this way.

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georgestapleton
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Oct 18 2012 18:47

Huh. Yeah I kind of see that. But you also made the argument that money emerges out of debt.

I don't know I really feel like I need to sit down with pen and paper to get my ideas straight on the book. If time slowed down and I sped up i might get round to doing that.

duskflesh
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Oct 18 2012 19:28
LBird wrote:
duskflesh wrote:
i can't help but feel horribly miss interpreted

We're not 'misinterpreting' you, duskflesh. We're very clear about what you are arguing. You are claiming that 'induction' is the correct method for science. 'Induction' is the claim that 'theory' comes from 'data'.

duskflesh wrote:
out of all the facts developing a theory to explain them. This is where Kropotkin's critique lies.

If so, Kropotkin is wrong, according to modern philosophers of science since Karl Popper.

'Facts' come from the 'theory'. This is the scientific method.

duskflesh wrote:
selecting relevant things in regards to your inquiry(this should ideally be an open project, open to revision...there might even be a theory here to help you pick you pick out data

'Selecting'? 'Pick out'? What provides the parameters of 'selection', the notions of what to 'pick out'? It must be pre-existing 'theory'. If one doesn't acknowledge this, and openly declare one's biases, they creep in unexamined. The parameters of selection become 'common sense' and 'the bleedin' obvious'. This is why 'induction' is a conservative method.

duskflesh wrote:
Instead of developing a theory from the data to explain the patterns in the data Marxist and neo-classical economists start with their preconceived theories. Basically they all believe that their preconceived theories of economics have priority over the data and reality.

1. No-one 'develops theory from data to explain': this is 'induction', and is totally discredited.

2. Everyone 'starts with their preconceived theories'.

3. The notion that 'data and reality' are able to be simply accessed to tell us 'the Truth' without human interpretation and understanding is 'positivism'. This philosophy has been discredited since Einstein in the early 1900s.

These are difficult issues, comrade, and I implore you to re-read the relevant posts on this thread.

you falsely claiming my position to be one of a logical positivism in order to discredit it is quite pathetic.
i never claimed anything about truth in relation to science, not do i personaly think that term is even relevant(it could easily be replaced with "best possible explanation at a given moment" or "the best explanation at a given moment to act on", claiming any scientific explanation is outside the flux of history is just silly)

i hope you understand what you are saying, according to you all scientists should stop doing any scientific experiments to test their theories, because they know everything a-priority(cause this is what Marx and neo-classical economists do).

an consequence of rejecting my position for you idealism would be, if a scientists thinks X and theory fails to explain the phenomenon x is directed at the scientists should still think X because theory has priority over whether the theory is fulfilled or not.

btw, i think we need to we need to move this discussion to another thread