A methodology for cost factor comparison and prediction by Alvin J. Harman

By Alvin J. Harman

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Geertz, Clifford (1963) Peddlers and Princes: Social Development and Economic Change in Two Indonesian Towns, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Georgescu-Roegen, Nicholas (1971) The Entropy Law and the Economic Process, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Harré, Rom, Clarke, David, and de Carlo, Nicola (1985) Motives and Mechanisms: An Introduction to the Psychology of Action, New York: Methuen Inc. ) (1984) The Economics of John Hicks, Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Hirschman, Albert O. (1985) ‘Against parsimony: three ways of complicating some categories of economic discourse’, Economics and Philosophy I (April): 7–21.

Naturally, many differences that we perceive each day we ignore; some day we may experience a difference that brings about a revolution in our perspective, our beliefs and values. But when we deal with a difference—a low price, rising demand, the loss of a job—we have to rely on the four strategies. We can seek identity with what we already know (deduction or induction), affirm difference (will), reflect (irony), or entertain possibilities and allow the ambiguities of history. The fourth strategy is clearly significant when we do economics (see McCloskey 1986; Klamer 1983; and Klamer, McCloskey and Solow 1988).

When applied to what is specifically human (such as consciousness, self-identity, economic transactions), it is the reductionist attempt to explain the human in purely ‘objective’, 36 GADAMER AND RICOEUR ‘natural’, physicalistic terms (as in Skinnerian behavioural psychology or cybernetic accounts of the ‘mind’). There are no ‘facts in themselves’ (as we have now come to realize in the philosophy of science, all facts are ‘theory-laden’). Facts are products of interpretation. Whether it is texts or actions of people that we are trying to understand, there is no such thing as a ‘correct’ or best interpretation of them (no ‘validation’, in Hirsch’s positivistic sense).

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