Bhaskar dialectic

Hans Despain DESPAIN at econ.sbs.utah.edu
Tue Feb 21 11:04:33 MST 1995


Chodos points out some very insightful points about Bhaskar.  Having
just begun to work through his books, my humble critiques are just
forming.

Chodos say "I have felt that he is on to some very important things,
but that there is also a side to his writing that is not hermenetic
from profundity but from some other unexplained (and possibly
unjustifiable) reason."

Yes, in our reading group a few issues along this lines have been
brought up.  Philosophical justification for much of his argument
seem a bit uncareful.  Bhaskar asks his ontological
trancedental questions, e.g., "what must the world be like for
science to be possible," I not sure that his Critical Realism is on
very firm ground.  It seems to rest on some kind of "commonsense"
ontology.  Maybe this is not (philosophically) too careful of Bhaskar.

My response to this, however, is that Bhaskar is concerned with the
activity of science, not necessarily of its philosophical
justification, therefore maybe it is justified to accept that science
is something that is in fact carried out daily, so that a discussion
and a philosophy of science can emerge with the notion that it is
possible.  But I have many question about this?

Chodos also makes a point about his resistence to a sharp distinction
bewteen ontological and epistemological dialectic.  I am not sure
what he as in mind with "sharp," but the distinction between ontology
and epistemology is central to Bhaskar argument and critique of
empirical realism, positivism, empiricism, and rationalism.  However,
I don't necessarily believe that this distinction has to be sharp by
any means.  There must, however, be a congitive effort to distingish
between them.

It seems to me that Bhaskar is committed to both epistemtic
relativism and an ontological relativism, therefore I believe
that I might agree with Chodos that there is no "sharp" distinction
between ontology and epistemology (dialectics).

Hans Despain
University of Utah
desapin at econ.sbs.utah.edu


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