Excerpts relevant to the verification of Macroeconomic Field Theory:
… our distinction between analytic propositions and analytic principles is equivalent to the verification principle of the logical positivists. … (their verification principle), however, rests on an identification of the notions of verification and of experience. Yet clearly if the law of falling bodies is verified, it is not experienced. All that is experienced is a large aggregate of contents of acts of observing. It is not experience but understanding that unifies the aggregate by referring them to a hypothetical law of falling bodies. It is not experience but critical reflection that asks whether the data correspond to the law and whether the correspondence suffices for an affirmation of the law. It is not experience but a reflective grasp of the fulfillment of the conditions for a probable affirmation that constitutes the only act of verifying that exists for the law of falling bodies; and similarly it is a reflective grasp of the unconditioned that grounds every other judgment. (CWL 3, 671/694)
We have frequently affirmed that the “classical laws” of Macroeconomic Field Theory are abstract.
So far from being a mere impoverishment of the data of sense, abstraction in all its essential moments is enriching. Its first moment is an enriching anticipation of an intelligibility to be added to sensible presentations; there is something to be known by insight. Its second moment is the erection of heuristic structures and the attainment of insight to reveal in the data what is variously named as the significant, the relevant, the important, the essential, the idea, the form. Its third moment is the formulation of the intelligibility that insight has revealed. Only in this third moment does there appear the negative aspect of abstraction, namely the omission of the insignificant, the irrelevant, the negligible, the incidental, the merely empirical residue. Moreover, this omission is neither absolute nor definitive. For the empirical residue possesses the universal property of being what intelligence abstracts from. Such a universal property provides the basis for a second set of heuristic procedures that take their stand on the simple premise that the non-systematic cannot be systematized. (CWL 3, 89-9/)
Now our whole effort has been to draw attention to the fact of insight, to the enriching moments on which abstraction follows. Accordingly, it is in this sense that we affirm classical laws to be abstract. So far from being an impoverishment of sensible data, abstraction is an enrichment that goes beyond them. Because abstraction goes beyond the sensible field, the frontiers of the abstract are not coterminous with the frontiers of the experienced. Hence, full and exact knowledge of the systems to be reached by abstraction by no means denies the existence of an empirical residue that is non-systematic. Again, just as in abstraction we prescind from the empirical residue, so when we come to the concrete applications of abstract principles and laws, we are forced to take into account the non-systematic conditions under which the systematic has its concrete realization (CWL 3, 89/)
Galileo discovered our law of falling bodies, but he failed to recognize its abstractness. Correctly, he recognized that explanation lies beyond description, that the relations of things to our senses must be transcended, that the relations of things to one another must be grasped, and that a geometrization of nature is the key tool in performing this task. Still Galileo did not cast his methodological discoveries in the foregoing terms. Instead of speaking of the relations of things to our senses, he spoke of the merely apparent, secondary qualities of things. Instead of speaking of the relations of things to one another, he spoke of their real and objective primary qualities, and these he conceived as the mathematical dimensions of matter in motion. … The Galilean acknowledges … universality and necessity but cannot recognize its abstractness. For him it is attached immediately to imaginable particles or an imaginable aether or both. For him, it is already concrete, and so it is not in need of further determinations to reach concreteness. For him, the further determinations, which would be non-systematically related to one another, simply do not exist. Accordingly,since he has no doubt of the existence of classical laws, he cannot but regard statistical laws as mere formulations of our ignorance. There is some vast aggregate of discrete or continuous but imaginable elements; they are subject to universal and necessary laws; and the business of the scientist is the hard task of determining those laws and so predicting what cannot but occur. (CWL 3, 130-31/)
This Galilean view … seems to have suffered a crippling wound from the overt claims of Quantum Mechanics. Our argument, however, moves on a different terrain. It appeals to Darwinism and to Quantum Mechanics only as illustrations of scientific intelligence. Its proper premises lie in the dynamic structure of empirical inquiry and in the canons that govern its unfolding. In that field it has noticed that abstraction is not impoverishing but enriching, that in the sense of enriching abstraction classical laws are abstract, that a systematic unification of classical laws does not imply the possibility of imaginative synthesis, that the concentration of systematic relationships in the abstract field leaves the further determinations, needed for concrete applications, non-systematically related to one another. It follows that classical and statistical laws, so far from being opposed, are complementary. It follows that the regularities of our universe result, not from classical laws alone, but from the combination of such laws with suitable constellations of concrete circumstances. (CWL 3, 131/)