[hist-analytic] Anamolousness

Baynesr at comcast.net Baynesr at comcast.net
Sat Mar 13 12:29:43 EST 2010

Most of us are familiar with the formula 'd = 1/2gt2'. 
The distance traveled by an object when dropped close 
to the earth is a function of gravity (here 't' = 32ft 
per sec.) We also know that this assumes no influence 
of wind resistance etc. 

However, it is also known that there is in all cases 
*some* resistance. If we drop a steel ball from the 
roof it falls faster than a feather from the same 
distance. From the roof the distance travelled by the 
ball is VERY close to the expected, unadjusted , value. 
But notice this: if you take a piece a paper and cut 
holes in it of one shape; drop it from the roof, then 
it will fall at one rate; but if different holes 
were to have been made of a different shape, without 
affecting the area of the piece of paper, or its 
other properties, then it would fall at a different 
rate: one hole in the middle, e.g. vs. several small 
holes totaling the same size in the other case. 
So shape is a determinant of 'd' . But now consider 
this: there is no LAW relating shape and 'd = 1/2gt2'. 

We may want say that there is no law relating 
shape and wind resistance, although they are related. 
Between shape and fall there is no law llke connection. 
This is not to say that the events are not physically 
determined, only that there is no law relating *shape* 
and fall. I think this may be a case of " anamolousness ." 
I can't cite the passages here and now but this does 
NOT originate with Davidson. Shape in the context of 
such an experiment is what I shall call a "pseudo- 
variable." More later. Applications to economics. 

Although he doesn't raise this property as special, 

M. Friedman makes good use of he gravity example 

in discussing assumptions in economic theory. 

"The Methodology of Positive Economics" (1953). 

Included in M. Brodbeck's _Readings in the Philosophy 

of the Social Sciences_MacMillan, 1968, 



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