File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_1999/bhaskar.9904, message 38

Subject: RE: BHA: Re: Kant's realism
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 16:05:47 -0400


What if we just return to the premise of RTS and ask, "What must the world
be like for science to be possible?" From that standpoint, RB is just
explicating what science presupposes. TR depends on science being "right" in
this regard. Perhaps we can't convince the Kantian. But then if RB is
correct about science, science poses a problem for the Kantian.

You've thought about this much more than I have, so this proposed solution
is probably too naive.

	Marsh Feldman

-----Original Message-----
[]On Behalf Of Ruth Groff
Sent: Friday, April 16, 1999 12:57 PM
Subject: Re: BHA: Re: Kant's realism

Hi Jan,

Sorry for the long delay.  I saved this message, half written, and kind of
forgot about it, having exhausted myself trying to get a handle on Bhaskar
and Kant.  For what it's worth, here's my response!  Thanks again for the

You wrote:
>What we are looking for are "the knock down *arguments*",
>and the "convincing reasons" in support of Bhaskar's TR but contra
>Kant's TI.

Yes.  A Kantian would argue, I think, that

(a) while there may indeed exist a reality that in principle cannot be
experienced -- and, in the nature of the case, that we therefore can say
nothing about -- and

(b) while it is even the case that reference to such a (possible, but by
definition un-knowable) realm is in fact required, as a negative, limiting


(c) to simply assert that causality as such (and here, remember, for the
Kantian we are talking not about which particular x's cause which particular
y's -- that is indeed a matter to be investigated empirically -- but of what
is it to *be* a cause) ...simply asserting that causality is a property of
mind-independent matter (i.e., that it is a matter of the real powers of
generative mechanisms) is a materialist version of rationalist metaphysical

So: how do we convince the Kantian that s/he is wrong, that Bhaskar's got
the better epistemology and the better metaphysics?  You suggest that
Bhaskar would propose the following as evaluative criteria:

>Imo Bhaskar would respond something as follows: "I prefer Ta
>over Tb because it is 'capable of explaining more or more
>significant phenonema in its own terms than the other does in
>his'. So Ta is better because it contains a (elaborated) notion
>of ontological stratification (ID-TD, R>A>E), can account for a
>greater number of problems solved, can 'predict' more accurately,
>generates the most relevant hypotheses, etc."

But I would still want to ask this:  assuming that we can mean by
ontological stratification something other than "causality is a
Mind-independent property of objects" (i.e., something other than "Bhaskar
is right" -- for that would be to argue circularly), can't it be
incorporated into Kantian trandscendental idealism fairly easily?

And if we *can't*, in fact, mean by it anything other than "causality is
Mind-independent," then it can't be the deciding point according to which we
evaluate Bhashar's position relative to Kant -- because once again it is
simply a re-assertion *of* Bhaskar's position.  See what I mean?

I'm just saying, the Kantian position is harder to dispense with than one
would think.  And if there is an important philosophical difference between
Bhaskar and other dialectical thinkers, I think it has a lot to do with just
this point.


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