File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_2000/bhaskar.0009, message 51

Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2000 10:20:11 +1000
Subject: on being wise was Re: BHA: Bhaskar and God


I think you have stressed a key point.  At the Lancaster conference I said 
that Bhaskar had done something very brave and radical. He had broken with 
Heidegger who refused to define Being other than through tautology (Sein 
ist selbst).  He had also eschewed Adorno's example of sticking to the via 
negativa. In FEW Bhaskar essays a positive vision of who we are and what 
should be done.

You say that Wittgenstein advanced the same solution as  Adorno. Then you 
comment 'wisely'. that for me is one of the keys to understanding the turn 
to Few.  Bhaskar has gone in search of phronesis or wisdom.

I am mindful here of Aquinas' great two fold definition of wisdom:

"Wisdom by its very name implies an eminent abundance of knowledge. which 
enables a man to judge of all things, for every one can judge well what he 
fully knows.  Some have this abundance of knowledge as the result of 
learning and study, added to a native quickness of intelligence; and this 
is the wisdom which Aristotle counts among the intellectual virtues.  But 
others have wisdom as a result of the kinship which they have with the 
things of God; it is of such that the Apostle says: 'The spiritual man 
judges all things.' The gift of Wisdom gives a man this eminent knowledge 
as a result of this union with God, and this union can only be by love, for 
'he who cleaveth to God is of one spirit with Him.' And therefore the Gift 
of Wisdom leads to a godlike and explicit gaze at revealed truth, which 
mere faith holds in a human manner as it were disguised (cited in Knowles, 
D. The Evolution of Medieval Thought, Longman, 1962: 268)".

Your remark seems to suggest that it is not wise to go in search of the 
second kind of wisdom that which comes from union with the absolute or in 
TDCR terms as a result of subject-object identity at 1M.

Interestingly Aquinas himself is said to have a mystical experience on 6 
Dec 1273.  The result of which was a refusal on his part to continue to 
work on his masterpiece Summa Theologica. He is reputed to have told his 
secretary Reginald ' I can no more; such things have been revealed to me 
that what I have written seems but straw'(cited in Honderich,The Oxford 
Companion to Philosophy, 1995 p 43).

Aquinas paid the price for abandoning the knowledge path to wisdom by 
falling into silence.  Somewhere Heidegger says something about the risk of 
getting too close to Being and being rendered silent by the experience.  As 
his collected works run to some 70 volumes, he seems not to have gotten too 

I have been for some time intrigued with this thing wisdom.  How can one 
achieve it without sounding like the Dali Lama?  Whatever the case I think 
that in FEW Bhaskar does try to integrate the wisdom of the East into 
DCR.  Whether he was successful or not is another question.

To put this another way -was he wise to do in search of wisdom?

warm regards


At 06:58  18/09/00 -0400, you wrote:
>Carrol wrote:
>>Jonathan Joseph, "Realistic Organisation?" *Historical Materialism: Research
>>in Critical Marxist Theory* 3 (Winter 1998), pp. 85-94, offers an interesting
>>article on the limits of Bhaskar's thought from a marxist perspective. He
>>argues that "critical realism" can be a valuable "under-labourer for the
>>sciences" but that it begins to lose its value when it sets up as
>>a "branch of social science itself."
>Wittgenstein said: "Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our 
>intelligence by means of language" (Philosophical Investigations, 
>109).  This, it seems to me, is the task of under-laborers, and in 
>critical realism the task takes the form of identification & explanation 
>of evil dialectical twins.  Wittgenstein wisely eschewed the development 
>of a positive program (and because of his eschewal he is wrongly thought 
>of by some as a radical skeptic & anti-realist).
>     --- from list ---

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