Since its original publication in 1979, The Possibility of Naturalism has been one of the most influential works in contemporary philosophy of science and social science. It is a cornerstone of the critical realist position, which is now widely seen as offering a viable alternative to move positivism and postmodernism. This revised edition includes a new foreword.
Introduction: Critical realism, hegelian dialectic and the problems of philosophy preliminary considerations -- Objectives of the book -- Dialectic : an initial orientation -- Negation -- Four degrees of critical realism -- Prima facie objections to critical realism -- On the sources and general character of the hegelian dialectic -- On the immanent critique and limitations of the hegelian dialectic -- The fine structure of the hegelian dialectic -- Dialectic : the logic of absence, arguments, themes, perspectives, configurations -- Absence (...) -- Emergence -- Contradiction I : Hegel and Marx -- Contradiction II : misunderstandings -- On the materialist diffraction of dialectic -- Dialectical arguments and the unholy trinity -- Dialectical motifs : tina formation, mediation, concrete universality, etc -- On the generalized theory of the dialectical remark, the failure of detachment, and the presence of the past -- Dialectical critical naturalism -- Towards a real definition of dialectic -- Dialectical critical realism and the dialectic of freedom -- Ontology -- The dialectic of truth -- On the emergence and derivability of dialecticized transcendental realism -- 1m realism : non-identity -- 2e realism : negativity -- Space, time and tense -- Social science, explanatory critique, emancipatory axiology -- 3l realism : totality -- 4d realism : agency -- The dialectic of desire to freedom -- Dialectical critical realism and the dialectics of critical realism -- Metacritical dialectics : irrealism and its consequences -- Irrealism -- The problems of philosophy and their resolution -- Contradictions of the critical philosophy -- Dilemmas of the beautiful soul and the unhappy consciousness -- Master and slave : from dialectics of reconciliation to dialectics of liberation -- The metacritique of the hegelian dialectic -- Marxian dialectic i: the rational kernel in the mystical shell -- Marxian dialectic ii: the mystical shell in the rational kernel -- Metacritical dialectics : philosophical ideologies, their sublation and explanation -- The consequences of irrealism -- Diffracted and retotalized dialectics -- Dialectic as the pulse of freedom. (shrink)
_Dialectic_ is now widely regarded as a classic of contemporary philosophy. This book, first published in 1993, sets itself three main aims: the development of a general theory of dialectic, of which Hegelian dialectic can be seen to be a special case; the dialectical enrichment and deepening of critical realism, viz. into the system of dialectical critical realism; and the outline of the elements of a totalizing critique of Western philosophy. The first chapter clarifies the rational core of Hegelian dialectic. (...) Chapter two then proceeds to develop a general theory of dialectic. Isolating the fallacy of 'ontological monovalence', Roy Bhaskar then shows how absence and other negating concepts such as contradiction have a legitimate and necessary ontological employment. He then goes on to give a synoptic account of key dialectical concepts such as the concrete universal; to sketch the further dialectical development of critical naturalism through an account of what he calls four-planar social being; and following consideration of the dialectical critique of analytical reason, he moves on to the real definition of dialectic as absenting absence and in the human sphere, the axiology of freedom. Chapter three extends and deepens critical realism’s characteristic concerns with ontology, science, social science and emancipation not only into the realms of negativity and totality, but also into the fields of reference and truth, spatio-temporality, tense and process, the logic of dialectical universalizability and on to the plane of ethics, where it articulates a combination of moral realism and ethical naturalism, whereby consideration of elemental desire involves commitment to the eudaimonistic society. This is then followed by a sublime discussion of key moments in the trajectory of Western philosophy, the tradition of which can now be seen to be based on what the author calls the unholy trinity of the epistemic fallacy or the reduction of being to knowledge, primal squeeze or the collapse of structure and alethic truth, and ontological monovalence. (shrink)
Since its inception in the 1970's, critical realism has grown to address a broad range of subjects, including economics, philosophy, science, and religion. It has also gone through a number of key evolutions that have changed its direction, and seen it develop into a complex and mature branch of philosophy. Critical Realism: A Brief Introduction, is the first book to look back over the entire field of critical realism in one concise and accessible volume. As the originator and chief exponent (...) of CR, Roy Bhaskar draws from his experience of countless introductory lectures, seminars, workshops and courses to give a definitive and compelling account of this increasingly influential, international and multi-disciplinary approach. Its eight chapters examine the following topics: Transcendental Realism and the Philosophy of Science Critical Naturalism and the Philosophy of Social Science Explanatory Critique and Ethics Language and Critical Discourse Analysis The Development of Critical Realism Interdisciplinarity and Applied Critical Realism Modernity, Theories of Science and Metacritique The Advantages of Critical Realism Everything from the definition of CR and its applicability to the social sciences, to explanations of dialectical critical realism and the philosophy of meta-reality are addressed in detail, making this the essential introduction for students of CR at all levels. (shrink)
Following on from Roy Bhaskar’s first two books, A Realist Theory of Science and The Possibility of Naturalism, Scientific Realism and Human Emancipation, establishes the conception of social science as explanatory—and thence emancipatory—critique. _Scientific Realism and Human Emancipation_ starts from an assessment of the impasse of contemporary accounts of science as stemming from an incomplete critique of positivism. It then proceeds to a systematic exposition of scientific realism in the form of transcendental realism, highlighting a conception of science as explanatory (...) of a structured, differentiated and changing world. Turning to the social domain, the book argues for a view of the social order as conditioned by, and emergent from, nature. Advocating a critical naturalism, the author shows how the transformational model of social activity together with the conception of social science as explanatory critique which it entails, resolves the divisions and dualisms besetting orthodox social and normative theory: between society and the individual, structure and agency, meaning and behavior, mind and body, reason and cause, fact and value, and theory and practice. The book then goes on to discuss the emancipatory implications of social science and sketches the nature of the depth investigation characteristically entailed. In the highly innovative third part of the book Roy Bhaskar completes his critique of positivism by developing a theory of philosophical discourse and ideology, on the basis of the transcendental realism and critical naturalism already developed, showing how positivism functions as a restrictive ideology of and for science and other social practices. (shrink)
Originally published in 1989, Reclaiming Reality still provides the most accessible introduction to the increasingly influential multi-disciplinary and international body of thought, known as critical realism. It is designed to "underlabour" both for the sciences, especially the human sciences, and for the projects of human emancipation which such sciences may come to inform; and provides an enlightening intervention in current debates about realism and relativism, positivism and poststucturalism, modernism and postmodernism, etc. Elaborating his critical realist perspective on society, nature, science (...) and philosophy itself, Roy Bhaskar shows how this perspective can be used to undermine currently fashionable ideologies of the Right, and at the same time, to clear the ground for a reinvigorated Left. Reclaiming Reality contains powerful critiques of some of the most important schools of thought and thinkers of recent years—from Bachelard and Feyerabend to Rorty and Habermas; and it advances novel and convincing resolutions of many traditional philosophical problems. Now with a new introduction from Mervyn Hartwig, this book continues to provide a straightforward and stimulating introduction to current debates in philosophy and social theory for the interested lay reader and student alike. Reclaiming Reality will be of particular value not only for critical realists but for all those concerned with the revitalization of the socialist emancipatory project and the renaissance of the Marxist theoretical tradition. Roy Bhaskar is the originator of the philosophy of critical realism, and the author of many acclaimed and influential works including A Realist Theory of Science, The Possibility of Naturalism, Scientific Realism and Human Emancipation and Dialectic: The Pulse of Freedom. He is an editor of the recently published Critical Realism: Essential Readings and is currently chair of the Centre for Critical Realism. (shrink)
This series of interviews, conducted in the form of exchanges between Roy Bhaskar and Mervyn Hartwig, tells a riveting story of the formation and development of critical realism. Three intersecting and interweaving narratives unfold in the course of this unfinished story: the personal narrative of Roy Bhaskar, born of an Indian father and English mother, a child of post-war Britain and Indian partition and independence; the intellectual narrative of the emergence and growth of critical realism; and a world-historical story, itself (...) theorized by critical realism in its discussion of the development of modernity. This book gives an invaluable account of the development of critical realism, and its consolidation as a leading philosophy of our times. It takes us through the major moments of its formation, the principal objections to and controversies within critical realism, the establishment of its institutions, and considers its limits and future development. Special features of the book include discussion of the genesis of critical realism, and the origins and nature of the so-called dialectical and spiritual turns. The informal dialogical style of The Formation of Critical Realism makes it compelling reading and an invaluable source for students of critical realism as well as all those interested in the intellectual story of our times. (shrink)
In this concise text, Roy Bhaskar sets out to diagnose, explain and resolve the "problems of philosophy". _Plato Etc._ reviews all the main areas of the subject: the theory of knowledge and philosophy of science; the philosophy of logic and language; the philosophies of space, time and causality; the philosophy of the social and life sciences and of dialectic; ethics, politics and aesthetics; and the history and sociology of philosophy. Among the issues discussed are the problems of induction and universals, (...) the question of relativism, Heidegger’s "scandal of philosophy", the nature of moral truth and the conundrum of free will and determinism. The last two chapters consist of a synoptic account of the development of Western philosophy from the pre-Socratics to poststructuralism. _Plato Etc._ seeks to revindicate the philosophical project, and to demonstrate that the author’s "dialectical critical realism" has the categorical power to remedy the problem fields of philosophy. The book serves both as a critical introduction to philosophy and as an invaluable resource for the scholar. (shrink)
In a brilliant series of studies, Roy Bhaskar, the originator of the influential, multi-disciplinary and international philosophy of critical realism, presents for the first time in published form, his new philosophy of Meta-Reality. The philosophy of Meta-Reality confirms many aspects of the great philosophical traditions of the past, while correcting their one-sidedness and transcending their dualism and dichotomies, representing what is valid in them in a radically new way, apt for our contemporary times of global crisis.
Interdisciplinarity and Climate Change is a major new book addressing one of the most challenging questions of our time. Its unique standpoint is based on the recognition that effective and coherent interdisciplinarity is necessary to deal with the issue of climate change, and the multitude of linked phenomena which both constitute and connect to it. In the opening chapter, Roy Bhaskar makes use of the extensive resources of critical realism to articulate a comprehensive framework for multidisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity and cross-disciplinary (...) understanding, one which duly takes account of ontological as well as epistemological considerations. Many of the subsequent chapters seek to show how this general approach can be used to make intellectual sense of the complex phenomena in and around the issue of climate change, including our response to it. Among the issues discussed, in a number of graphic and compelling studies, by a range of distinguished contributors, both activists and scholars, are: The dangers of reducing all environmental, energy and climate gas issues to questions of carbon dioxide emissions The problems of integrating natural and social scientific work and the perils of monodisciplinary tunnel vision The consequences of the neglect of issues of consumption in climate policy The desirability of a care-based ethics and of the integration of cultural considerations into climate policy The problem of relating theoretical knowledge to practical action in contemporary democratic societies Interdisciplinarity and Climate Change is essential reading for all serious students of the fight against climate change, the interactions between governmental bodies, and critical realism. (shrink)
In this radical book, Roy Bhaskar expands his philosophy of critical realism with an audacious re-synthesis of many aspects of Western and Eastern thought. Arguing that the existence of God provides the fundamental structure of the world, he renders plausible ideas of reincarnation, karma and moksha or liberation. Originally published in the year of the millennium, From East to West continues to be a groundbreaking and fundamental work within the critical realist tradition. Stimulating debate in ontology, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy (...) and the philosophy of religion, this book has been influential as a major new development in critical realism. This second edition contains a new introduction from Mervyn Hartwig, who is the founding editor of the _Journal of Critical Realism_ and editor and principal author of the _Dictionary of Critical Realism_. (shrink)
In his most audacious and radical book to date, Bhaskar develops his existing philosophy of dialectical critical realism into a philosophy of and for universal self-realization (which he also terms a transcendental critical realism). In a general theoretical introduction, Bhaskar establishes the existence of God as the fundamental categorical structure of the world and unconditional love as the cement of the universe. This system of thought is followed by a narrative novella designed to render plausible the ideas of reincarnation, karma (...) and moksha, or liberation, and to support an ethic of engaged but unattached activity in the world. (shrink)
The Vedanta of conciousness : transcendence, enlightenment and everyday life -- The alienated self and the Kabbala of transformation -- The Zen of creativity and the critique of the discursive intellect -- The Tao of love and unconditionality in commitment -- The yoga of action and effortless efficiency -- The nous of perception and the re-enchantment of the tree of life -- The gnosis of freedom and the Fana of fulfilment.
This unique collection of studies, based for the most part on transcripts of talks in India, Europe and America over the last five years, covers the period in which Roy Bhaskar was developing out of the seeds of the most radical phase of critical realism, his new philosophy of meta-Reality. Because of the spontaneous and informal nature of these talks and discussions, this book provides probably the most immediately accessible introduction to his thought, both for those new to it and (...) those already familiar with it alike. (shrink)
Is philosophy worth it? -- Explanation and the laws of nature -- Reference, truth, and meaning -- Causality, change, and emergence -- Making it happen (social agency) -- Dialectic -- Living well -- Dialectic critical realism -- Socrates and so on? -- Philosophy and the dialectic of emancipation -- Appendix: explaining philosophies.
In _Philosophy and the Idea of Freedom_ Roy Bhaskar sets out to develop a critique of the work of Richard Rorty, who must be one of the most influential authors of recent decades. In a brilliant tour de force, Bhaskar shows how Rorty falls victim to the very epistemological problematic Rorty himself describes. Roy Bhaskar argues that Rorty’s account of science and knowledge is based on a half-truth. He sees the historicity of knowledge, but cannot sustain its rationality or the (...) reality of the objects it describes. The author further argues that Rorty’s problem-field replicates the Kantian resolution of the third antinomy: we are determined as material bodies, but free as discursive subjects. Rorty’s actualism makes human agency impossible. Developing his own critical realism, Bhaskar shows just where Rorty’s system comes unstuck, and how the philosophical problems to which it gives rise can be rationally resolved and explained. In this process Bhaskar utilizes his critique of Rorty to begin to elaborate his own alternative interpretation and critique of the philosophical conversation of the West. (shrink)
Since its original publication in 1979, The Possibility of Naturalism has been one of the most influential works in contemporary philosophy of science and social science. It is one of the cornerstones of the critical realist position, which is now widely seen as offering perhaps the only viable alternative to positivism and post positivism. This fourth edition contains a new foreword from Mervyn Hartwig, who is founding editor of the Journal of Critical Realism and editor and principal author of the (...) Dictionary of Critical Realism. (shrink)
Section I: Anti-Rorty -- Knowledge -- Rorty's account of science -- Pragmatism, epistemology, and the inexorability of realism -- Agency -- The essential tension of philosophy and the mirror of nature or a tale of two Rortys -- How is freedom possible? -- Politics -- Self-defining versus social engineering poetry and politics : the problem-field of contingency, irony, and solidarity -- Rorty's apologetics -- Reference, fictionalism and radical negation -- Rorty's changing conceptions of philosophy -- Section II: For critical realism (...) -- Critical realism in context -- Appendix 1: Social theory and moral philosophy -- Appendix 2: Marxist philosophy from Marx to Althusser. (shrink)
Four recent turns in social thought are discussed and related to the four dimensional schema of dialectical realism the author has recently outlined. It is shown how ontology matters, and indeed is not only necessary but inevitable, The nature of the reality of ideas is demonstrated and the most prevalent mistakes in the metatheory of ideas and ideation analysed. The significance of categorical realism and the character of those specific types if ideas known as ‘ideologies’ are then discussed. Finally some (...) good and bad dialectical connections of ideas and related phenomena are sketched. (shrink)
Now acknowledged as a classic in the philosophy of science, A Realist Theory of Science is one of the very few books to transform not only our understanding of science, but that of the nature of the world it studies. The book has inspired the multi-disciplinary and international movement of thought known as critical realism. Re-issued with a new introduction.
Building on its origins at a seminar in Oslo organized by two of the editors, this book combines classic texts of Nordic ecophilosophy and the original contributions of those influenced by this tradition to present the view that critical realism is indeed a worthy intellectual tradition to carry forward and further develop the work of the founders of Nordic ecophilosophy. It was clear at the seminar that there was a promising convergence of interests and themes in the two approaches; while (...) at the same time, within the Nordic ecophilosophical tradition, there was appreciation of the capacity of critical realism, with its provision of a robust philosophical ontology and generation of totalizing immanent critiques of Western philosophy, to provide an expansive and secure home for the development of ecophilosophical work generally. If there is a single overarching theme of critical realist philosophy, it surely must be that of the unity of theory and practice, which Bhaskar, following Hegel, has also called "seriousness". This makes the applicability, relevance and actionability of critical realism key considerations for critical realists. There can be no doubt that this concern was shared fully by the Nordic ecophilosophers; and this quality of "seriousness" is a striking feature of the Nordic contributions presented in this book. (shrink)
This new, long awaited study, is the first and defining volume in which Roy Bhaskar, originator of the increasingly influential, interdisciplinary and international philosophy of critical realism, systematically presents and expounds the principles of his new philosophy of meta-Reality, a philosophy which is already the subject of worldwide attention and debate. Building on a radically new analysis of the self, human agency and society, Roy Bhaskar shows how the world of alienation and crisis we currently inhabit is sustained by the (...) ground-state qualities of intelligence, creativity, love, a capacity for right-action and a potential for human self-realisation or fulfilment. He then demonstrates how transcendence and non-duality are necessary and ubiquitous features of all social interaction and human agency; and how these and connected features of human being and activity sustain the totality of the structures of the world of duality and oppression in which we live. Moreover, meta-Reality argues that any objective an agent chooses in life will ultimately set him or her on a process or dialectic to self-realisation, entailing a commitment to universal self-realisation; and it shows how these goals or ideals are explicit or implicit in all emancipatory projects, of whatever political, social or religious declension. Furthermore they all imply the same principles of clarity and commitment to social transformation (on all the planes of social being), which Roy Bhaskar articulates here. In a very real sense he demonstrates how these principles, for the first time clearly elaborated here in meta-Reality, are indeed the culmination of all traditions of thought and practice oriented to human well-being, emancipation or flourishing. (shrink)
A picture has indeed held modern Western philosophy captive, that of the universe as a vast machine whose iron laws are best understood as exceptionless empirical regularities which, as it were, determine the future before it happens. This fantastic conception commands the assent, not just of positivistically-minded naturalists but of all the great anti-naturalists who champion a very different view of human action as a domain of freedom ¿that somehow cheats science¿. The most fundamental move in Roy Bhaskar¿s system of (...) philosophy, the germ of everything that followed, was to reconceptualise the natural world in transcendental realist terms, ¿turning Kant around using his own method¿. On this account, the universe is characterized by deep structures, mechanisms and fields that generate the flux of phenomena, and is in open, creative and emergent process. This completely recasts the terms of the debate between naturalism and anti-naturalism by remedying its false grounds and shows how philosophy can be liberated from its anthropocentric/anthropomorphic prison and rendered consistent with the best insights of modern natural science. There is necessity in nature quite independent of humans, but in an open world causation is multiple and conjunctural, the actual course of the unfolding of being is highly contingent and the bases of human freedom can be understood scientifically. Written as a DPhil thesis when Bhaskar was in his mid-twenties, Empiricism and the Metatheory of the Social Sciences brilliantly launches this reconceptualisation and explores its implications for social science in the course of carrying through the metatheoretical destruction of empiricism. It will be indispensable reading for anyone interested in the development of Bhaskar¿s thought, in transcendental realism, and in the critique of empiricism, more generally of the philosophical discourse of Western modernity. (shrink)