Ontology and Realism

Hans Despain DESPAIN at econ.sbs.utah.edu
Mon Jun 26 13:15:46 MDT 1995


Chris B., I glad that my post made some sense, I would very much
like to pursue this further.  However, I am quite short on time these
days so ask for your patience in my responses.  I think that we have
established that (for at least Marxism) ontology is quite important.
The problem here, to offer some direction, is that empiricism
suggests that no universals exists, our runs into an infinite
regress problem for "grounding" or "justifing" them.  Thus, it will be
with (Kantian) transcendental argument that we can argue for the
existence of universal concepts.  Dialectics will be a way to
organize our categories in an attempt to ground universals "non-
Metaphysical."

Chris S., thoughtful comments on the issue of ontology, which I think
are in agreement with mine.  If he believed I somehow over stated my
position on ontological issues, I am sure I did.  Thus, his post is
accepted as further clairification on the role of "internal
relations."  The issue here, is that such issues should be made
(self-)conscious.

Thus, I will repeat that what is at stake in a discussion of
dialectics is ontology, transcendental (retroduction), and
dialectical logic.  I look forward to further discussion and will
post an argument for (why an economist should concern herself with)
ontological issues (or a realist approach to knowledge).  I will do
this by way of a (Bhaskarian) immanent critique of both analytical
and neo-Marxian approaches, to argue for a "systematic" transcendetal
realism (namely, Bhaskar's Critical Realism).

The point being that once we can establish that ontology is important
(and deduction and induction lacking as "grounds") we must move on to
retroduction or transcendental argument, and in turn to "systematic"
(presentational) dialectics.  My argument intends to suggest that
this is in fact a very productive way, to not only read Marx, but to
approach science.

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


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