H*lp: Roy Bhaskars Critical Realism (fwd)

Spoon Collective spoons at jefferson.village.virginia.edu
Sat Apr 8 07:49:22 MDT 1995

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 4 Apr 1995 02:17:33 -0600
From: Hans Ehrbar <ehrbar at keynes.>
To: marxism at jefferson.village.Virginia.EDU
Cc: marxism at jefferson.village.Virginia.EDU
Subject: H*lp: Roy Bhaskars Critical Realism

 > [Sun, 2 Apr 1995 21:40:49 -0700]

Ralph was asking:

 > In "The Posibility of Naturalism" Roy Bhaskar says that social form
 > is necessary for intentional action. Can anyone explaine how he
 > comes to that conclusion. Is he relating to Wittgensteins private
 > language argument or is it anything else?

Ralph seems to be looking at p. 34 in the second edition.  Here Bhaskar is
trying to put the individual in its place.  After arguing that society
"cannot be reduced to (and is not the product of) the individual", he
argues furthermore that "society is a necessary condition for any
intentional human act at all".  How does he argue this?  For this look
at the first three pages of Chapter 3, about Agency,  pp. 81/2 in the
Second Edition.  Intentional human activity is causal intervention in the
world together with a "reflexive monitoring" of that intervention,
i.e., humans are not the only ones to act, many things are active in the
world, but humans are to our knowledge the only ones who are aware of their
activity, who can look at themselves in the third person.  Bhaskar claims
that such awareness can only arise in a social context (there must be more
than one of us for us to be able to see who we are), and that it is also
intimately connected with language, itself a socially emergent entity.

This is all very close to Marx.  What Bhaskar says further down on
p. 34 about his transformational model of social activity reminds me
of Marx's "In the social production of their lives" in the famous
Preface passage (which continues, all this is my own translation:
people enter into determinate relations that are necessary and
independent of their wills---relations of production, which correspond
to a determinate stage of development of their material productive
forces.)  Somewhere Marx also says (is this the intro to GRUNDRISSE?)
that the concept of an individual producing is as absurd as that of
an individual developing a language.

Take care,

Hans G. Ehrbar                                    ehrbar at econ.utah.edu
Economics Department, 308 BuC                     (801) 581 7797
University of Utah                                (801) 581 7481
Salt Lake City    UT 84112-1107                   (801) 585 5649 (FAX)
For Info about our Graduate Program Contact  program at econ.sbs.utah.edu

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