File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_2000/bhaskar.0009, message 39

Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2000 11:30:21 +1000
Subject: BHA: Forwarded from Howard Re: Rethinking spoiled porridge

At 03:19  16/09/00 -0400, Howard wrote:

>Gary --
>I sent this off an hour ago, but it has not appeared on the list yet.
>Unfortunately, I have not been able to get through to the list from this
>address -- don't know what the trouble is.  I sent a reply to your
>Kierkegaard, Mozart, Keats post back in June or July, but that never went
>through, then I resubscribed, but now with this first effort, no luck
>either, or at least yet.  Anyway I wanted to get this post to you, and if
>it does not show up today on the net, then please forward it to our comrades.
>I'm going out today to look for Bach's violin concertos.  Do stick with
>Bach.  Have you ever seen 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould?  Now there's a
>documentary for you!  Sort of.  One doesn't expect much of intelligence
>from government these days, but I think one of the genuinely intelligent
>things government has done in the last quarter century is to send Voyager
>off into space with Glenn Gould's performance of the first prelude from the
>Well Tempered Clavier.  Imagine what intelligent life elsewhere might make
>of it?  And how they would be surprised to find what life is really like on
>earth!!  If you can listen to Gould's performance of the Well Tempered
>Clavier.  In both volumes there are many wonderful things -- the 23 and 24
>cuts or whatever, I forget the word now, take you on and on and on and on
>on a path of transcendence that is hard to match.  This happens in number 5
>I think it is also of volume 2.  There can be an aridity about Bach.  I
>still have trouble with the ARt of the Fugue, but for desert island music I
>would take the Well Tempered Clavier without question.  That and Bob
>Marley's Legend.  But the first I wouldn't tire of.  For books it would be
>v. 28 of M and E's collected works -- which always struck me as a bit
>ironic since a desert island is the last thing v. 28 is about!
>All the best!!
> >Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2000 14:10:27 -0400
> >To:
> >From: lynne engelskirchen <>
> >Subject: Rethinking spoiled porridge
> >In-Reply-To: <>
> >References: <>
> >
> >Gary --
> >
> >You argue that if god exists then a believer's ontology is true.  I think
>this approach has shattered the proud frigate of many a realism, and we
>need to sail in a very different sea.  Ruth knows how I love to type long
>citations into the record.  Have a look at Peter Halfpenny's entry on
>"Causality" in the Blackwell Dictionary of 20th Century Social Thought.
>After a very sympathetic summary of the critical realist approach toward
>non-empirical generative mechanisms, he writes:
> >
> >"The difficulty with this realist view is that having violated Humean
>empiricism by granting existence to imputed mechanisms and invisible powers
>beyond the epistemic control of experience, what restrictions are there
>upon the mechanisms that can be invoked as causal explanations?  If viruses
>are to be admitted, why not demons or witches spells?"
> >
> >It seems to me I also read a similar critique somewhere which asked the
>same question about "fairies at the bottom of the garden," but, for the
>life of me, I can't find it.  This is a major challenge for us.
> >
> >I find myself stumbling across this problem all the time.  Bhaskar says
>something exists if it has a causal effect, so e.g. the social relation of
>marriage exists.  But all kinds of fictions and fantasies have causal
>effects in individual lives and in society, and Marx's point was that it is
>not the fiction that generates the effect.  You have to reach deeper, stand
>things on their head, etc., e.g. instead of seeing human persons as the
>incarnation of God, see images of God as forms of consciousness of social
> >
> >Now I don't think that robs anyone of the sacred.  In the Introduction to
>the Grundrisse in the section on Method, I've mentioned before, Marx says
>there are different ways of appropriating the world, religious, aesthetic
>and scientific, and that makes sense to me.  But from the point of view of
>social theory designed to understand to intervene to change, I think we'd
>be pretty well advised to navigate in the sea of the scientific.
> >
> >Have you heard the story of Jesus's first miracle?  He was playing as a
>child making clay birds on the sabbath, and when scolded for it, he shooed
>them into flight.  Now would a realist want to study the generative
>mechanism by which he did that?  Whether that's a serious ontological
>question all depends on whether the mechanism exists, I guess.
> >
> >Speaking of spoiling porridge, has anyone read Marsden's book on The
>Nature of Capital.  This is a critical realist treatment of Marx and
>Foucault.  At the level of the general discussion of method there are
>worthwhile and interesting insights.  But when it actually comes to a
>critical realist "unpacking" of capital . . . !  Spoiled porridge.  That is
>why it is not possible to admit just anything as a putative generative
>mechanism.  Notice the overwhelming tendency of academic social theorists
>to imitate the hermeneutic rather than the scientific tradition in their
>work.  I mean we don't establish results on which others can build.
> >
> >As for burning breakfast, Gary, you need a paradigm shift. I've had great
>success with a steamer.  Get the kind with a timer.  Never burns and easy
>to clean.  I'm a new man for it.
> >Cooks all manner of things, but especially morning porridge!!
> >
> >Cheers!
> >
> >Howard
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >fI've had good success with a steamer!  Get the kind with a timer.  Shuts
>off automatically and easy to clean too.  At 08:21 AM 9/12/00 +1000, you
> >>Ruth,
> >>
> >>My interest in this question unfortunately distracted me from preparing
> >>breakfast.  Ah I love the smell of burned porridge in the morning.
> >>
> >>I meant to say that it was a very good question.  It seems to me that the
> >>charge or analysis that Bhaskar is now a subjective idealist depends on
> >>whether his ontology is true i.e. whether there is a god      (within and
> >>without).  If such a god exists then surely Bhaskar is still an ontologist
> >>and not a subjective idealist as Phil would have it.
> >>
> >>Of course ontological proofs for the existence of god have been largely
> >>discredited since the time of Kant.  It then becomes as my old teachers
> >>used to say a matter of faith, and we move do we not out of the realm of
> >>philosophy into that of theology?....sigh!
> >>
> >>regards
> >>
> >>Gary
> >>
> >>
> >>At 08:56  11/09/00 -0400, you wrote:
> >>>Hi Hans,
> >>>
> >>>Thanks for your nice offer.  I'd be curious to know how Bhaskar, at this
> >>>stage in his thinking, would define materialism.  How would he distinguish
> >>>materialism as a metaphysical stance from idealism, in particular from
> >>>absolute idealism?  And does he still consider himself to be a 
> proponent of
> >>>a metaphysical materialism?
> >>>
> >>>Believe it or not I don't at all mean this as a trick question!
> >>>
> >>>Warmly,
> >>>Ruth
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>      --- from list ---
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>     --- from list ---
> >>

     --- from list ---


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