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Mike W wrote
> This assertion of Fred's:
> > 3. But Marx also argued that they key question in a theory of
> > is to explain the determination of the magnitude of the dM. This point
> > stated very clearly in the following excerpt from the "Results"
> > manuscript:
> Is, I submit, not supported by this quote:
> > The fact that the purpose of the process is that x should be
> > transformed into x + dx also POINTS TO THE PATH OUR OWN
> > INVESTIGATION SHOULD TAKE. The result must be expressed
> > as the FUNCTION OF A VARIABLE QUANTITY, or be transformed into
> > one during the process. As a given sum of money, x is a constant
> > from the outset and hence its increment = 0. In the course of the
> > process, therefore, it must be changed into another amount which
> > contains a variable element. OUR TASK IS IS TO DISCOVER THIS
> > COMPONENT AND AT THE SAME TIME TO IDENTIFY THE MEDIATIONS BY MEANS
> > OF WHICH A CONSTANT MAGNITUDE BECOMES A VARIABLE ONE.
> > (Capital, vol. 1, Vintage edition, p. 977; emphasis added).
> Rather, Marx says quite clearly here that the capitalist system must
> determine (throw up determinations of) the quantity of surplus-value
> (expressed in money). And that we (the investigators) must grasp the
> mediations by which this occurs. That doesn't speak one way or the other
> the necessity for the theory to determine magnitudes - just that it must
> explain how such magnitudes are reproduced in the theoretical object -
I entirely agree that this is a reasonable *possible* interpretation
of Marx. But I suggest that on the face of it an *equally* possible
interpretation of "The result must be expressed as the function of a
variable quantity..." is what a modern (bur arguably naive) reader might
make of it: namely that Marx was precisely demanding a mathematical model
with quantitative consequences.
We know that Marx at least dabbled in maths: what stage were his
investigations at when the passage above was drafted? the "x + dx" stuff
suggests that he had begun his reflections on the calculus at the relevant
time -- in which case what reason is there for supposing that he did *not*
intend to demand a quantitative model (a demand which would, of course, not
exclude -- rather, include -- the interpretation Mike argues for)?
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