To my chagrin, I find that I made a transcription error for an axiom in
Formal Qualitative Probability. More specifically, I placed a quantification in the wrong place. Axiom (A6) should read I've corrected this error in the working version.
Posts Tagged ‘writing’
To my chagrin, I find that I made a transcription error for an axiom in
I wasn't otherwise informed of the change, but when I checked this morning I found that a version of my probability paper had been posted to the First View list (and the listing amongst accepted manuscripts removed). So, except for pagination, the final form has been created. (I hope that the error to which I last directed attention of the productions office was corrected.)
On 3 September, I received a galley proof of my probability paper. Setting aside issues of style, there were various minor problems. Of a bit greater importance was that the paper was reported as received on 20 Februrary 2020, the date that the publisher received it from the editors, which was months after the editors had received it from me. But the most important matter was the replacement in a citation of
1943. I responded on the same day, noting most of these issues. On 10 September, I was queried about which version of the MSC I'd used for the code that I'd provided, and as to whether there were truly a space in my surname. Again I responded on the same day.
On 6 October, I received a new galley proof. I found no new problems. All of the minor issues that I'd noted were fixed. However, the paper was still reported as received on 20 Februrary, and the citation still had the wrong year. I decided to ignore the first of these two issues, and simply to note the problem with the citation. Again, I responded on the same day.
 I think that I just have to accept things such as punctuation being moved within quotation marks even when it's not part of the quotation, spaces being removed from either side of em-dashes, and
artefact being respelled
artifact, though I use the former for a different notion from the latter.
 The first clear frequentist challenge to the classical approach to probability seems to have been made in a paper by Richard Leslie Ellis published in 1843.
 One thing that I decided not to note was my discomfort over the space between left-hand quotation marks and quoted formulæ.
For several months, just two manuscripts were in the listing of manuscripts accepted by The Review of Symbolic Logic, one on an application of modal logic to set theory which article had been listed on 4 October and mine on probability which had been listed on 20 February. On 25 June, another was added, followed by nine more on 29 June; on 2 July, four more.
I don't know why the oldest two on the list have still not been typeset and moved to the FirstView list. And I don't think that my article will find many readers before it has, further, been assigned to a specific issue. It seems unlikely that the last will happen before 2021.
I have been working on a paper concerned with De Morgan's contribution to an area of probability theory. I had wanted to mention that contribution in the introduction to my probability paper, but saw no way of doing it that would be succinct without seeming occult. I began the new paper thinking that I would finish it in a very few days, but as I engaged in some of the requisite research I found that the task of properly explaining things was going to be still more challenging than I had anticipated.
In the end, the paper on De Morgan will be seen as a minor contribution to the history of thought. Had I known at the beginning how troublesome would be the task of writing it, I would have postponed the undertaking.
Another Monday has effectively passed without my receiving a rejection from the latest journal to which I offered my paper on probability.
My paper was submitted to that journal on 20 February, and on 2 March I was informed that it were assigned to a handling editor and that I'd be notified when a report were returned by a reviewer. I don't know whether a reviewer has accepted the assignment; but, while sometimes it takes months to find a reviewer, usually that happens more quickly. The journal says that it makes an effort to make a decision within three months; but, at most journals, reviewers are asked to return a report in something like four weeks or a month. So, while the three-month mark is six weeks away, it is increasingly plausible that a decision will be made soon.
Those who review academic articles and edit academic journals do so as a side activity, and are most likely to give time to this activity on the weekends. Additionally, weekends are psychologically natural for self-imposed deadlines. Monday becomes the most probable day for an editor to inform an author of a decision. Because the journal and the handling editor are in Europe, Monday effectively ends in what is for me the late after-noon.
And the most likely decision is a rejection. I don't think that I quite said this when previously writing about submitting my article to a journal. Instead, I wrote about the fate of most articles being rejection. But, after observing the responses of reviewers at those previous journals, I've reached a judgment about probability. It's probable that my article will again be rejected.
Thus, on each Monday, I look for a rejection.
On 20 February, I submitted my paper on probability to yet another academic journal. To my surprise, the journal in question gave me a choice as to whether my review would be doubly blind — with my identity withheld from the reviewers; I chose that option.
Although in my initial reading of the longer of the two reviews that I most recently received I found no worthwhile criticism, I thought that I should pore over that review carefully, to ensure that I didn't overlook anything in it that would cause me to improve my paper. However, though the review was not written with abusive intent, it is none-the-less abusive, and I was averse to reading it. To impel myself to read it carefully, I decided to write a response to each of the criticisms within it, as I would then have to take care to find and to consider each criticism. I completed a draft of the response without finding any good reason to revise my paper. Having gone that far with the draft, I proofread it on 21 February, and posted a version on-line. It is written more in the manner of a 'blog entry than of something intended to go into a journal or book; and I don't know that any of you would want to bother with reading it in any case. But it's available.
Between the time that I previously submitted the paper and the time that received the most recent decision, I more efficiently organized the citations in one paragraph and I compressed one appendix by removing formula numbers and by suppressing logical quantifiers so that its eleven formulæ could be placed into a one-page grid.
In the early morning of 2 March, I received e.mail indicating that my probability paper had been assigned to a handling editor (who was named), and that I would be contacted after a reviewer had returned a report. It seems that the threat of a desk rejection has passed. I made a very cursory check on the handling editor; she seems quite qualified.
About five days after I was informed that the reviews had been completed for my paper on probability, I received notice from the editor that the paper had been rejected, along with copies of the review. I don't know what caused that delay.
The reviewers were plainly over their heads. One reviewer objected that I'd not shown whether numeric probabilities could be assigned. Real numbers are completely ordered; in the case of any two different numbers, one is always bigger than the other. So, if real numbers can be assigned to a preördering, then the preördering must be complete. And I had repeatedly made it plain that I was discussing preörderings that were not assumed to be complete. The other reviewer objected that I'd not cited recent literature, but I'd found no recent work on probability as an incomplete preördering, and the literature that he or she suggested didn't include such work. More generally, the two reviewers simply didn't understand what I was trying to do, though I'd stated it clearly; it was outside of a box in which they remainded.
Unsurprisingly, I was hugely disheartened that three academic philosophers — the two reviewers and the editor who accepted incompetent reviews — were so cognitively impaired.
I set to revising the article to explicitly state some obvious things that they'd not seen, and to state more bluntly or repetitively things that I'd said but that had been ignored.
After I was done with that, a friend was kind enough to make a very careful reading of the manuscript. He found a technical error in the exposition that was easily fixed, and the omission of a word. He made a large number of suggestions concerning style, and I made changes in response to nearly all of them. And he expressed concern that the paper may not find reviewers who understand it.
I now need to find another journal to which to submit it.
I had one journal in mind, but looking at the guidelines for authors has made me wary. The editor wants only unblinded copies (that it to say copies in which the author's name is presented), and requires authors to suggest five specific individuals as reviewers; these practices undermine objectivity in peer-review. He deëphasizes technical matters; my paper is very technical. And he wants a copy both of the paper in PDF and of the
original file; to specify the file format in that manner makes him seem actively foolish. He should specify the acceptable formats; he would be likely to think that I were being deliberately difficult — rather that conscientious — if I sent a file in the format native to LyX.
On 17 May, I received communication from one of the editors of the journal to which, on 20 February, I had sent my paper on qualitative probability. He apologized for the delay, explaining that it were caused by a set of individually small mistakes. He said that, weeks earlier, the editors had reached a decision to request that I revise and resubmit the paper before it were sent to reviewers. They recognized that the set of axiomata had philosophical significance, but felt that the abstract would not attract their readers and that there were not enough philosophical discussion in the exposition of the paper.
I wasn't sure whether I could rewrite the paper sufficiently to get their acceptance without unbearably compromising the mission of the paper. I spent the better part of two days pondering the matter, then saw a plan of revision that I would be willing to effect and that they might find satisfactory.
The major share of the revision was to the introductory section. I pulled content from elsewhere in the paper and put it in that section, so that readers would know more of whither the paper would go. I added material that I think to be over-explanation, but from the reading of which some readers would probably benefit. Additionally, I made what were plainly major improvements to the paragraph on intervals as such. I made various other changes through-out the article.
I do not know that the editors will find these changes sufficient. I think that a major issue is that I see discussion of the formal structure of reason as philosophy, whereäs plainly some academic philosophers do not. In a revision cover-letter, I noted that the axiomata were explicitly justified in the paper as conforming to principles that hold in formal systems across all major interpretations of probability, with the exception of one principle whose justification were labored, and that were I to explain how each interpretation would justify each principle used as an axiom, then the work would mushroom to the size of a book, and its principal contributions would be swamped.
I resubmitted the article. It was quickly returned with a request that it not be submitted in PDF but in LAΤΕΧ mark-up or as a Microsoft Word .DOC. (That demand was probably an artefact of how all revisions are handled, rather than indicating that the revision were considered to be sufficient for the article to be sent to reviewers.) I had composed and entered the article using LyX, a WYSIWYM editor that uses LAΤΕΧ programs for final rendering (and converting the document to Word format would be a dreadful process because of the formulæ). But I had to modify things so that the publisher's own programs could successfully process my files. I spent a considerable amount of time figuring-out what modifications to make. At one point, I bobbled the process, but was rescued by the JEO assistant effecting a reset so that I could begin anew. I completed the resubmission at 03:50 on 30 May.
I am not sanguine about my revisions being considered sufficient. I have one more philosophy journal in-mind, after which I must consider submitting to a journal of a different sort.
If rejection does not come swiftly, then within a very few days I will return to work on my next paper, which is to combine the logic of preference and the logic of plausibility, each allowing incomplete preörderings, into a general theory of decision making.
The extended quiescence of this 'blog has largely been an artefact of my limiting of various activities as I bore-down on critiquing Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities, a work of heterodox political economy by Piero Sraffa. The task has been thoroughly unpleasant, because there is so very much wrong with his work and because he writes in an obscure manner. At the same time, I have been dealing with depression intensified by personal circumstances. Had I allowed myself to step away from the project more than I did, I might never have finished it.
I have not, indeed, finished it; but, on Wednesday morning, I completed a first draft of the article. That draft is now in the hands of some of the other economists whom I know. (Naturally, I have since found things that I want to change, though none of these represent a major issue.) So I think that I will be back to writing more entries here.
One of the economists who has graciously said that he would take a look at the article (not-withstanding that it is monstrous in size!) asked me what motivated my writing of it.
Over many years, I have repeatedly been annoyed by encounters with those who draw upon PoCbMoC. More recently, I have been concerned by increased popular support for administrating economies (which support happens to be egalitarian or quasi-egalitarian); and this book is part of the infrastructure of the experts who defend such administration.
Further, at the time that I finally began actually working on this article, I felt stalled-out in my paper on the axiomata of qualitative probability. (That paper was and is a rat's nest, in which the basic propositions are not currently each perfectly orthogonal to all others.) In a sense, then, this article on Sraffa's book was intended as a break, though I quickly discovered that the task was going to be far more onerous than I had presumed.
Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities is the central text of neo-Ricardian economics, and a core text of post-Keynesian economics; it is also an important source for a variant form of Marxism that would abandon the labor theory of value. If I can get my article published in a reputable journal, that publication will eventually be the death of neo-Ricardianism and of the aforementioned variant of Marxism; I don't know enough about post-Keynesianism to know how well they might do without PoCbMoC. Some of my criticisms are relatively minor, but some of them strike at the heart of the work.
(It took rather a long time to develop my article, but reading it offers the impression a nearly continuous rain of blows, some dreadful.)
eventually because I wouldn't expect the present admirers to acknowledge how hard they'd been hit, but I'd expect a virtual end to the winning of converts. I don't know that I can find a journal to publish the article because
- it is quite long;
- the mainstream of economists are unfamiliar with PoCbMoC so that
- editors and reviewers may think it insufficiently significant, and
- those reviewers most likely to feel sufficiently competent to examine my article are admirers of Sraffa.
I intend never again to pore over a work, even as short as PoCbMoC, when it is discernibly crack-pot. As I told a friend, I have been doing my time on the cross here; let someone else go after other such thinkers. I am capable of original work of significance, and that is how I intend to spend my remaining time qua economist.
This 'blog was begun as I left LiveJournal, appalled by its evolving policies under its second and then third owners. One might reasonably conceptualize this 'blog as a continuation of that which I had at LJ, and some of the entries of this 'blog are recyclings of entries from the earlier 'blog.
None-the-less, this 'blog has become very different from its predecessor. LiveJournal is a social-networking site; part of the reason that it has withered is that its users migrated to more successful social-networking sites. My present 'blog doesn't work that way. I have recurring readers, but there's nothing much like the Friends feed of LJ or of Facebook. There is no centralized connector of interests (as on LJ). I have regular readers, but they are likely to use an RSS aggregator (such as Flipboard) and less likely to comment (especially if they are using such an aggregator). I get far more irregular visitors, who are here by way of Google (or of some other search service), grabbing some information, and not so much as visiting any page here other than their entry pages.
So it doesn't feel appropriate to offer mundanities of the sort that I would relate to a neighbor or to a friend on the telephone. My public entries tend to be things that I imagine strangers would appreciate reading. The restricted entries (basically accessible to friends who followed me as I migrated from LJ) are almost entirely personal; but a reader is required to make a special effort to access them, so they are not about ordinary events; they are usually very personal.
With entries to this 'blog thus typically requiring more thought, there are generally fewer of them, and the 'blog becomes dormant when I cannot — or believe that I should not — give thought to those entries.
Piero Sraffa's Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities has 96 sections and four appendices. I've critiqued most of the first 85 sections, though I have for now skipped a few that draw-out conclusions from methods that I have shown to be fatally flawed. Along the way, I've also dealt with three of the appendices, the remaining one of which is bibliographical.
The final 11 sections that I've not discussed nor yet carefully read are concerned with what economists call
land (not only space but resources such as ore) and with the significance of switching in methods of production. That last part is the most noted contribution from Sraffa, and widely considered to have merit across various schools of thought, though it has also been asserted that the contribution is not as novel as some have claimed. I withhold judgment until I go through it carefully.
The material over which I have so far pored is of no marginal value. I have come to loathe each resumption of my effort. But Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities is the core text of the neo-Ricardians, a central text of the Post-Keynesians (who have a significant academic and political foot-print in the UK), and the point of departure for an important variant of Marxism. So I should steel myself and complete the task.
After I get a first draft of the actual analysis done, before I write the other parts of the paper, I will begin making copies of the version in-progress available to those who can read these entries. And, after I have a more fully reälized working version, I might unrestrict my entries about this project, though that publicizing might wait upon my finding a journal that agrees to publish it.