File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_1998/bhaskar.9810, message 78

Date: Fri, 16 Oct 1998 20:20:38 -0800PST
Subject: BHA: carnal knowledge

<FontFamily><param>Times New Roman</param><bigger>If only she had sexual relations and he didn=92t, what every critical realist 
wants to know is whether under those circumstances he carnally knew her.<smaller>

* * * 

<bigger>What must be the case for us to have a concept of truth at all?  

It must matter that our ideas are in some way appropriate to the way the 
world is.  

They would matter if our connection to the world were causal, not 
conceptual, if our causal interactions had some consequences, but not 
others, and if our ideas sometimes influenced how we interacted causally 
with the world.

For our causal interactions with the world =96 our practice =96 to reflect 
systematic pattern there must be natural kinds given expression by real 
definitions.  These constitute fallible efforts to express alethic truths.  

* * *

Colin expresses frustration with the list and thinks we need new blood.  This 
is a way of expressing limitations we confront in ourselves and in the form of 
our interaction.  I think these limitations do exist.  But I don=92t think they=92re 
written in stone.  I think there is a way in which we are emptied out.  But 
that situation won=92t change no matter how many new members we add if the 
structure of our interaction remains the same.  There is a politics expressed 
by our exchange that reflects our predominant class position.  We interact as 
individualists displaying what small acquisitions of knowledge we have 
acquired like shopkeepers at a fair.  This accounts for our jab at first this 
topic, then that, whatever we can speak to off the top, or whatever 
individually we happen to be working on.  We are very good at this and all 
of us love the sharp give and take.  But in the end it becomes boring to us 
and goes nowhere because we come to know our respective displays, 
anticipate them, tire of them, and tire of being misperceived or unheard.

The alternative is  a collaborative and disciplined reading.  Everybody shows 
up prepared and on time.  There will be plenty of space for give and take 
and argument and individual contribution.  But these can be subordinated to 
solving together problems we share. The emphasis is not on this or that 
individual=92s position but on our joint effort to understand the text.  We can 
strive for a genuinely common reading and, whatever our actual differences, 
persevere in that, and make a search for common ground the goal of our 
associated efforts.  

This would express a politics more consistent with the emancipatory project 
that draws us to Bhaskar=92s texts.


Howard Engelskirchen<FontFamily><param>Arial</param><smaller>

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