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Re: In response to Erwin


I don't post often, but I do follow some of these threads.

I think you've misunderstood Rick's point. Let me give you another book
suggestion. It's a short book, less than 200 pages. Out of print, but
you can find it in a university library. The book is *The Philosophy of
Science, and Economics* by Robert A. Solo. M.E. Sharpe. 1991.

Here are a few paragraphs, just to give you an idea:

"I do not at all dispute that mathematics is the appropriate language of
'scientific' discourse as Popper used the term, and hence where the
credibility of statement can best be tested through a range of precise
and specific inferential predictions. But what value has mathematics in
the empirico-judmental discourse where, as in the case of general theory
in economics, the credibility of statement cannot be based on the
specific inferential prediction, but where the only rational path to
credibility is through the individual judgment of a mixed bag of
evidence pro and con? There the case for mathematization of statement

And another:

"...the mathematization of language in the general theory of economics
and the social sciences: (1) is without 'scientific' justification or
value, (2) eliminates any consideration of qualitative difference and of
qualitative change, hence bars the effective analysis of technological
advance, evolutionary change, and economic development at the heart of
the modern economy. (3) For judgment, the image of the subject to be
judged must be conveyed in its fullness, which can only be done through
the word. A methodology to enable informed, clear-headed judgment in an
empirico-judgmental discourse, would give priority to the word. It would
be for verbal statement to convey a clear image of the subject of
analysis, with mathematics held to a supportive, service role."

And another:

"It is...the psyche that is the creative root of all institutional
formations, of all choice and behaviour by individuals and groups. The
image, the idea, the memory, the value, the belief, the
conceptualization, the commitment, the ambition, the aspiration, the
expectation, the need, that belong in the mind's domain is the ultimate
'stuff' of the social universe. It is a stuff without weight, quantity
or measure, absolutely different from physical matter. It comes out of
nowhere and vanishes without residual. And yet as we witness in the
instance of perestroika and glasnost in the Soviet Union [note: the book
was published in 1991], a shift and change in that invisible stuff can,
seemingly in an instant, collapse and transform a whole vast structure
of social institutions and organizations."

And one more:

The significant regularities of the social universe, on which the
generalization and prediction depend, are not, as in physics, functions
of determined or of random relationships. They are functions of the very
opposite; of human freedom expressed in reason and in purpose. It is
essential to consider and grasp the character of this stuff in contrast
to that of the physical universe, in order to fashion a methodology
appropriate for the social sciences. Besides the character of the
reference universe, an appropriate methodology for the social sciences
will depend on the function or functions of the science qua system."

I think that is what Rick was pointing out in his post. Surely, this
logic applies as well to education as it does to economics, the
"mathematical social science."

LLonald King

|-----Original Message-----
|From: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List
|[mailto:ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU] On Behalf Of kber
|Sent: Sunday, March 03, 2002 4:10 PM
|Subject: Re: In response to Erwin
|so you have total prejudice against or disregard for anything
|quantitative. I don't. Statistics
|can have applicability, aprticuarly within test theory, but
|also in other areas as well. I am not
|opposed to qualitative research, and I value it as well. And
|I might point out that while strict replicability may not
|apply in in non-randomized situations, there are elements of
|replicability that do, even with qualitative studies.
|My ciriticisms of that application should NOT be taken as
|agreement with your somewhat extreme position on the subject.
|As far as your "taking me to task" that was achieve only in
|your own mind, and I think y9u would find very olittle
|concurrence with that perspective on this list.
|That some of us disagree on certain subjects is inevitable,
|and is part of what is interesting in the process of dialog.
|Tht you think you have to demonstrate that you are cleverer
|than anyone else (eg *rap*) is sad, but proves absolutely
|nothing. Your assumption that when you cite a owrk that I (or
|others0 have not sepcifically referenced it is demonstrate
|that you know more than us is pitiable - do you think that you
|are the only one who has studied qualitative methods? You did
|the same thing with respect to chaos theory.
|Get a life, Rick. The wheel is round, and we all know it.
|That we don't find it necessary to mention that every time we
|post does not mean we are ignorant.
|Rick Parkany wrote:
|> Again, Folks: this idea of *replicability* is one carried
|over from the physical
|> sciences. It is not valid to use it in the science that (indierctly)
|> investigates itself! The science of the human being is the
|only one in
|> which the data talks back to you, argues, disagrees, and acts
|> intentioinaly and with malice aforethought. Do any other
|physical data
|> sets do this? well then why investigate them as if the data
|were inert
|> and mute???
|> When are we going to make the obvious distinctions between
|the *social
|> sciences* (I call them the sciences of the human being) and those,
|> other physical ones, like physics and chemistry. The
|science(s) of the
|> human being will use constructs such as
|> *transferability* for *replicability* and
|*generalizability*; it will use
|> trustworthiness and authenticity in the *data* set instead
|of *reliability* and
|> *validity* for its verification criteria.
|> For not the last time, I'm sure, I repeat: The theory underwriting
|> statistics is only valid when analyzing large scale populations of
|> animals, minerals, or vegetables. The human being is not
|> though populations may be considering a limited number of dimesnions
|> or characteristics. Students are individuals, as are classrooms,
|> teachers, buildings, sttaes, and nations. To extrapolate or
|> interpolate from vast populations to the individual is a
|twisted and highly suspect manner of abusing the
|> *logic* underneath this manner of inquiry. No?
|> No, folks, we do neither ourselves nor our research any favours when
|> we use *one size fits few* frameworks in our inquiry...this a
|> *transferable* notion from our own, dear, Susan O! (Hi!
|> I refused to use generalizable))
|> Take a look @ the work of Guba & Lincoln, for example, Ken, if you
|> want a pretty thorough critique of this manner of directly applying
|> the strictures of physical science to that of the human being.
|> Are you with me on this, Ken? It's the same point I made
|when I brought you to task
|> for applying these strictures to Joe's idea of *theory*
|concerning faith... ;-} rap.
|> REFs:
|> Guba, E.G. & Lincoln, Y.S. (1989) Fourth generation evaluation.
|> Newbury Park,
|> California: Sage Publications.
|> Lincoln, Y.S. and Guba, E.G. (1985) Naturalistic inquiry. London,
|> England:Sage Publications.
|> AND
|> Mathison, S. (1997). The role of deliberation in evaluation.
|> Manuscript in press.
|> --
|> "Dein Wachstum sei feste und lache vor Lust!
|> Deines Herzens Trefflichkeit
|> Hat dir selbst das Feld bereit',
|> Auf dem du bluehen musst." JS Bach: Bauern Kantata
|> Richard A. Parkany: SUNY@Albany
|> Prometheus Educational Services http://www.borg.com/~rparkany/
|> Upper Hudson & Mohawk Valleys; New York State, USA
|> ----
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