File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_1999/bhaskar.9904, message 30

Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 10:26:31 +0100
Subject: Re: BHA: a query

Hi Gary,

Since it's you, I'll give it a shot (not that I am accepting the title of
idiot you understand, or breaking my lurking status). 

I think you are on the right track. This is a problem that goes back to
Plato, but links into the problem of particulars and universals and also
that of nominalism and realism. The one over the many principle, as
formulated by PLato, says that where a plurality (many) of things is called
by a single name (the one) - in this instance the "documentary" - there
must be an "ideal" (Form) documentary existing apart from these single
instances. This argument comes up against the 'third man' (or in this
instance documentary) argument which leads to an infintite regress (which
Bhaskar deals with somewhere).

Hope this helps. I shouldn't worry too much about the claim that there is
no such thing as a documentary, after all this is only one more in a long
line of denials: there is no such thing as society, the state, truth,
reality or even I suppose, if we completely ditch the idea of essence
itself, no such thing as "no such thing". Such denials generally come from
either a hard-core positivism or an anti-essentalist posty position and it
is the underlying nominalism in both which is doing the work. Something all
realists should be opposed to.



Dr. Colin Wight
Department of International Politics
University of Wales
telephone: +44 (0)1970-621769
fax      : +44 (0)1970-622709

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