This book expounds the transcendental realist theory of science and critical naturalist social philosophy that have been developed by Bhaskar and are used by many contemporary social scientists. It defends Bhaskar's view that the possibility and necessity of experiment show that reality is structured and stratified, his use of this idea to develop a non-reductive explanatory account of human sciences, and his notion that to explain social structures can sometimes be to criticize them. After a discussion of the uses of (...) critical realism in controversial areas of social science, Bhaskar's optimism about the prospects of human sciences is criticized. (shrink)
A review article on two books by Roy Bhaskar: Reclaiming Reality: A Critical Introduction to Contemporary Philosophy (London: Verso, 1989), & The Possibility of Naturalism: A Philosophical Critique of the Human Sciences (2nd Edition, Harvester Wheatsheaf: London, 1989 see listings in IRPS No. 56). Bhaskar portrays critical realism as insisting on "the primacy of being over knowledge" & argues for the emancipatory consequences of this position. His philosophy distinguishes between intransitive & transitive domains & between open & closed systems, & (...) stratifies reality (intransitive) into mechanisms, events, & experiences. Bhaskar is praised for the flexibility of his approach & his description of social relations, but he slights measurement & omits grounds for adjudication between competing theories. In trying to develop both a bold & Marxist theory, the constancy of his approach suffers. 23 References. M. Pflum. (shrink)
In Being and Worth Andrew Collier argues that beings both in the natural and human worlds have worth in themselves, whether we recognize it or not. He builds on recent work in critical realism to provide a reassessment of Spinoza's philosophy of mind and ethics. Conclusions are developed with particular reference to environmental ethics.
On Christian Belief offers a defense of realism in the philosophy of religion. It argues that religious belief--with particular reference to Christian belief--unlike any other kind of belief, is cognitive; making claims about what is real, and open to rational discussion between believers and non-believers. The author begins by providing a critique of several views which either try to describe a faith without cognitive context, or to justify believing on non-cognitive grounds. He then discusses what sense can be made of (...) the phenomenon of religious conversion by realists and non-realists. After a chapter on knowledge in general, he defends the idea that religious knowledge is very like other knowledge, in being based on reliable testimony, sifted by reason and tested by experience. The logical status of the content of religious belief is then discussed with reference to Christianity. (shrink)
This volume addresses the interlocking themes of realism, objectivity, existentialism and politics, based on critical realism. However, it moves beyond the purely scientific orientation of earlier contributions to this philosophy, to further develop the themes.The title essay defends objectivity in science, everyday knowledge, and ethics, and examines both subjective idealism and existentialist critiques of objectivity. The other essays examine some of the same themes but from different angles, keeping the politics of the issues at the forefront.
Andrew Collier analyses recent cooperation between Christianity and Marxism after earlier years of antagonism. He first discusses the nature of Christianity and Marxism and their place amongst contemporary world views, before looking at areas of apparent conflict and possible reconciliation. This groundbreaking work will be of interest to those involved in philosophy, theology, politics and Marxism.
Andrew Collier is the boldest defender of objectivity - in science, knowledge, thought, action, politics, morality and religion. In this tribute and acknowledgement of the influence his work has had on a wide readership, his colleagues show that they have been stimulated by his thinking and offer challenging responses. This wide-ranging book covers key areas with which defenders of objectivity often have to engage. Sections are devoted to the following: 'objectivity of value', 'objectivity and everyday knowledge', 'objectivity in political economy', (...) 'objectivity and reflexivity', 'objectivity, postmodernism and feminism', 'objectivity and nature'. The diverse contributions range from social and political thought to philosophy, reflecting the central themes of Collier's work. (shrink)
These essays defend Christian, socialist and realist positions against Nietzsche’s critiques. Each essay addresses a problem in Nietzsche’s work. The first deals with perspectivism. On his view, the idea of objectivity disappears, becoming no more than simply a multiplicity of perspectives. The essay shows how Nietzsche’s approach to knowledge commits the epistemic fallacy, i.e. evades questions about truth by collapsing them into questions about knowing. The second essay addresses Nietzsche’s moral psychology in which there is no being behind doing, no (...) agent distinct from her actions. The essay demonstrates how this actualist account of persons is false by showing that the distinction between agent and action is needed for any understanding of moral action. The final essay concerns the history of ideas, rather than philosophical analysis. First, it looks at Nietzsche’s account of slave morality couched in terms of envy. Social justice, however, cannot be understood in this way. A section on class, religion and morality in late antiquity reinforces this with evidence that it was far more likely to find vindictiveness in the master class than the servant. The section on theism and ethics deals with Nietzsche’s notion of ‘eternal recurrence’: the idea that everything that happens will happen again an infinity of times, a notion that sustains an ethic of passive acceptance. The final part decries contemporary attachments to the Nietzschean virtues of pride, self-assertiveness, competitiveness and contempt for the less successful, preferring a Christian path to self-perfection through the pursuit of goals outside ourselves. (shrink)