File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_1997/bhaskar.9708, message 41

Date: Thu, 14 Aug 1997 22:57:57
To: bhaskar-AT-jefferson.village.Virginia.EDU
Subject: Re: BHA: Science, theology and witchcraft

Very well - I will get out in the real world of Hegel and Adorno texts.
How can I thank you? :)

At 01:45 PM 8/14/97 -0400, you wrote:
>Dear all
>I have been re-reading many of the postings on this list and have been struck
>at how often debates centre upon the ideal of coming an agreement about what
>is count as a correct understanding of one of RB's paragraphs etc, as
>distinct from them testing out RB's account against something outside of the
>intertextual sphere. This has perhaps only a little directly to do with
>witchcraft, but does it have some analogies to the mofus operandi of
>discussions in protestant theology?
>On the subject of the hermeneutics of reading Bhaskar, am I only the only one
>on this list who has experienced the ambiguity of being more and more
>impressed with what RB says about a topic that she or he has already worked
>upon, and less and less impressed with RB's actual interpretative treatment
>of alternative theorists. The two writers with whom I can cross reference his
>interpretation re Dialectics with my own are Hegel and Adorno. Getting into
>the abuses performed on Hegel's texts in Dialectic would amount (at least) to
>a PhD thesis in its own right; those brief references to Adorno could be more
>easily countered. A classic example of an unscientifically cavalier reading
>of Adorno occurs when RB chastigates a quote from Adorno re
>subjective/objectivity for apparently equivocating rather than immediately
>adopting a materialist position, when - of course - the whole point of
>dialectics is to overcome the grip of either/or thinking in dualisms/ As it
>turns out the very "remedy" which RB offers for Adorno, is rather close to
>that offered by Adorno in the self-same text which he quotes, i.e., the need
>to give relative priority to the object in the subject/object dialectic. The
>lesson here is that Adorno's texts are thenselves far more dialectical than
>are RB's, the process of thinking towards and coming to a conclusion is
>demonstrated step by step in the course of the argument - as distinct from
>simply telling one's reader's the reasons why only one's own approach is
>uniquely adequate, why it amounts to the first ever adequate formulation of
>dialectical negation etc etc. Bhaskar writes that dialectics did not start
>nor end with Hegel, the reply is well yes, nor with RB either, in which case
>lets forget "fresh starts" in dialectics, and accept that scholarship is
>conversation to which we at best carry forward only collobratively, partially
>and without full insight into the very mistakes which we are unable really
>appreciate at the time.
>Michael Salter
>law dept
>Lancaster Univ
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