Bad writing

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Mon Dec 6 10:49:50 MST 1999

>>> Gary MacLennan <g.maclennan at> 12/05/99 10:03PM >>>
As always, Lou provokes me into thought.  My favorite philosopher is Roy
Bhaskar.  Indeed I consider myself to be intellectually enormously indebted
to him.  Yet Bhaskar is not an easy read.  The Bhaskar list periodically
erupts with complaints about his prose style.

Mandarin would appear to be an apt description at one level.  But Bhaskar
is a libertarian socialist and deeply committed to spreading the
word.  However he has written that he wants to avoid the trap of trying to
use old words to express new thoughts. For example he has coined the phrase
'ontological monovalence'. He uses this to describe the tradition
established by Parmenides which has it that only the positive is real. Now
other philosophical traditions, such as Buddhism, have a concept of reality
consisting of nothingness as well as being.  Heidegger too wrote about
nothingness being a positive.  And of course there were many mystics who
define God as Nothing. But it is only Bhaskar who has attempted to evolve a
contemporary theory of absence into a new dialectic, and to do this he has
really had to signal the novelty of his thoughts by using novel language.


Charles: Is this nothingness really a new idea ?  Isn't the negation of the negation
( radical negativity) a pretty positive negative ? and not new to Marxists. Then look
at all the other expressions of it. What is new about Bhaskar's conception ?


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