File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_1997/bhaskar.9708, message 100

Date: Thu, 28 Aug 1997 16:59:13 +0100 (BST)
To: bhaskar-AT-jefferson.village.Virginia.EDU
Subject: Re: BHA: Bhaskar on Adorno 

Dear Michael

I am looking forward to the discussion at the conference.  As regards the
point you make below, I think it is important to have a clear idea of what
an author is saying.  Part of that may involve comparison with other
authors, but a first step would surely be to be clear about the nature of
the author's own texts.  Since DPF is a complex and highly elaborate text,
and also develops themes that are present in the earlier Bhaskar literature,
such as (and crucially) ontological realism, I can't see there is any
alternative.  Otherwise it becomes guesswork.

As regards your point about realist/irrealist and idealist/materialist
antinomialism, one would need to think about the nature of the Bhaskar
dialectic as he sets it out himself, and then compare it with alternatives.
That is a fairly dense task, and not one that is susceptible, for me at
least, to quick answers.  It's the sort of task that a detailed reading of
DPF would enlighten; without it, I don't think it is really possible.

Look forward to the discussion at Warwick!

Alan Norrie

>Michael Replies:
>I accept the point re ontological realism, but one of the points that I, and
>perhaps Ruth to, were driving towards was that the realism/irrealism,
>materialism/idealism were binary oppositions or antinomies, that it is one of
>the main (cognitive) aims of dialectical analysis to overcome. Adorno's
>discussion of subject/object dialectics provides useful point of comparison,
>without some such point we lack even the ability to identify what is and is
>not distinctive about Bhaskar's work on dialectic. If we cannot say in what
>respects it is distinctive, then how can ever claim to have understood it
>"first", that is, prior to any process of comparison. To say what Dialectic
>signifies involves a process of differentiation which, in turn, presupposes a
>comparative angle. 
>This is one of the reasons why for the conference I have chosen to compare
>your own critical realist work on the contradictions resultant from legal
>antinomies, with Adorno's would-be immanent critique of law and equity. 
>     --- from list ---
Alan Norrie

     --- from list ---


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