File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_1998/bhaskar.9807, message 5

Date: Thu, 2 Jul 1998 13:51:42 EDT
Subject: Re: BHA: Causal powers of absence - are they real?

Initially Hans E. claimed absences are causally efficacious.  Howard took (and
takes) issue to this.  Transcendetally i will agree with Hans here ... however
identifing a particular absence as causally efficacious becomes extermely

For example, i do not believe that one can claim, as Louis did, that the
absence of liberty is causally efficacious.  Cattle in a corral lack liberty,
but there is no revolt.  This sort of teleology of absence seem to me to be
mistaken.  Leading toward, for example, Hegelian illicit teleology of freedom,
or Marxian illicit teleology of socialism.

So in what way can we claim that absences or an absence is causally
efficacious.  Well the necessity of absence comes to be know by way of
transcendental reasoning, exactly the same type of second-order questioning
employed by Bhaskar to develop both his structural stratified realism (i.e.
transcendental realism) and the TMSA (and critical realism).

Now just as structual stratified realism allows us to identify the distinction
between the domains of the real, actual and empiricial, while not necessarily
offering an criteria for placing any entity, event or experience in and of
itself within any particular domain; and just as TMSA allows us identify a
distinction between structure and agency in the social dimension, without
necessarily providing any criteria to deciding when some phenomena should be
explained in structural terms or individualistic terms; we can
(transcendentally) come to know absences are causal efficacious, without
necessarily being able to provide a criteria for determining the causal
efficacy of any particular absence or set of absences.

Whereby, i would tend to argue that the transcendental recognition of the
necessity of the causal efficacy of absence demands the conception of
Totalities and Dialectics.  Or the acheivement of Bhaskar transcendental
reasoning, in this case, is not in offering a criteria for identifing
particular causal efficient absence, but the categorical necessity of absence
in our conception and understanding of reality, espeically for change.

In other words, the second-order reasoning, or these (Bhaskarian)
philosophical reflections establish that absences must be causally
efficacious, demanding a reformation of our construction of obtaining
knowledge about the world.  So that we rethink categories such as causation,
explanation, emergence etc., while also understanding particular inadequate
conception of such categories.

Whereby, in short i would warn against attempting to reduce causation of some
phenomena to a particular absence.  We simple have no criteria to do so.

hans d.

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