[OPE-L:1322] fuzzy logic

From: Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Date: Wed Sep 22 1999 - 10:13:29 EDT

Jurriaan wrote in [OPE-L:1320]:

> PS - to be completely explicit, when I talk about fuzzy concepts I am not
> referring to fuzzy hair, for example. People with fuzzy hair can have
> crystal clear concepts.

While the desire for crystal clarity as it relates to conceptual
development is admirable, can't a certain degree of "fuzziness" be the
result of the contradictory character of the phenomena being investigated
rather than the fault ("fuzziness") of the investigator?

E.g. when one is examining a topic that is determined not by one variable
but by several, any attempt to linearize the relationship might appear at
first blush to be an advance towards the development of a "crystal clear
concept". Yet, in that case while the theory may be simpler and clearer,
it would also be misleading.

Similarly, as we have seen in our debate on productive and unproductive
labour, although we certainly want clarity, we want -- first and foremost
-- to understand the phenomena better. Therefore, much of the discussion
precisely centered on examples from the margin where there was dispute.
This represented not a lack of clarity, but an attempt to clarify our
positions more precisely by looking at and evaluating specific examples.

The most non-fuzzy way that conceptual ideas can be advanced is in
mathematical form. Yet, can we not think of phenomena in political economy
that can not be accurately expressed in mathematical form?

Although you profess the desire for crystal clarity in theoretical
development, you also suggest elsewhere that metaphysics is both useful
and required. Are these not contradictory concerns?

In solidarity, Jerry

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