File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_1996/96-05-20.182, message 139


Date: Fri, 19 Apr 1996 09:01:32 +0200 SAST
Subject: Re: reading group


Hello,

Amit Ron:

>Now, for the question:
>
>What is Bhaskar definition of science?

Good question. I'll try to follow it up as a textual issue, but just 
off the top of my head I'd say that for the purposes of RTS science 
is _at least_ that social activity which includes the practice of 
experiment. Bhaskar goes on to show (he claims) that even this narrow 
type of activity requires that we think of science as explanatory and 
not predictive, realist and not empiricist/idealist, etc.

>From part 1 ("Two sides of 'Knowledge'") I learn that science is possible
>only if we assume the existence of intransitive objects. But, as I
>understand, science itself is a method for acquiring knowledge ("what must
>science be like to give us knowledge...").
>
>Now the Popperian question can be asked, what is the difference between
>the scientific way of acquiring knowledge (presuming intransitive
>objects...) and other ways. 

I don't know that Bhaskar really thinks there _are_ "other ways" - 
and I'm not sure that he could consistently allow there to be other 
kinds of knowledge. (So that from PON on he develops an ethical line 
of thinking where ethical knowledge is a kind of explanatory 
knowledge issuing from emancipatory social sciences...) 

>According to Bhaskar, Is the main characteristic of science is the kind of
>objects it deals with or it method? (I emphasize - the essence of science
>and not its ontology). 

I don't know that Bhaskar has any specific "rules of method", 
although I also don't think that he need _decide_ between objects and 
methods as the main characteristic of science. It is essential that 
the objects be intransitive (we can look at the analysis of 
experiment soon), but it is also crucial that the knowledge be a 
social product generated in a social activity. What makes science 
science, then, will be something social, but it is only possible in a 
wider world.

Cordially,
David
The "Instant Intellectual"
(just add funding)
---------------------------------
 Say that you do no work,
 and that you will live forever.
                    - Ezra Pound

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