[OPE-L:2194] Re: Re: [OPE-L:2141]Thermodynamics

From: nicola taylor (nmtaylor@carmen.murdoch.edu.au)
Date: Sun Jan 16 2000 - 23:42:35 EST

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>> I hope to come back to Mike's points about naturalism in a further post -
>> there was an interesting 19th century debate (which, very unfortunately to
>> my mind, appears to passed Engels by) as to what the discovery of
>> statistical regularities in social phenomena implied for free will.

>I look forward to that. imo, restrictions on freedom (desirable or
>undesirable in some sense) derive from social structure not statistical

If a statistical regularity is discovered between, say, eating ice-cream
and going to church, what inferences would Julian draw from the regularity?
 I would say none, since no causative inferences about either structure or
free will can be drawn from spontaneously occurring (unrestricted) social
regularities. Of course, marketing companies might use factor analysis to
target people who eat ice cream AND go to church if research shows that
these individuals are also more likely to use a particular product than are
other individuals, but again this says nothing whatsoever about the
necessity of the choice, or even the success or otherwise of the
advertising which might be due to some other hitherto unrecognised factor
(other than church going and ice-cream). All the observed relationship
says, then, is that for some *unknown* (and unknowable) reason the factors
related to the separate decisions of individual consumers are also related
statistically, AND related to social structures. It is a great merit of
Mike's VF (and other VF theories) that they do not depend upon the
identification of relevant regularities, but treat these as an aspect of
the object of analysis.


>comradely greetings,
>Dr Michael Williams
>Economics and Social Sciences
>De Montfort University
>Milton Keynes
>fax: 0870 133 1147
>[This message may be in html, and any attachments may be in MSWord 97. If
>you have difficulty reading either, please let me know.]

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