File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_2000/bhaskar.0009, message 75


Date: Sun, 24 Sep 2000 13:17:26 +0100
Subject: BHA: Re: replying to Pat was Re: Thoughts on ((T)D))CR and Kulchur was Re: 


Hi Gary, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts, always
fascinating. I have looked at a few introductions to critical realism,
will have a look at Colllier though. Thanks again. 

Gary MacLennan wrote:
> 
> At 10:12  23/09/00 +0100, you wrote:
> >Gary,
> >
> >please don't ignore my ignorance! But i am interested... all of these
> >names...'alethia'... all of these schools of thought. How did u get into
> >it? Is the argument everything? Why are u here writing about critical
> >realism (in such an accomplished way0?
> >:)
> >pat quinn
> 
> Hi Pat,
> 
> My path into Critical Realism began with my reading the late Michael
> Sprinker's article on the Royal Road to Science (?) in New Left Review
> about 1993. Since then I have gone repeatedly through all of Bhaskar's
> books with varying degrees of understanding.  At that time I was totally
> isolated politically and intellectually.  Becoming part of the Critical
> Realist movement has been a wonderful solution to all that.
> 
> The best intro to Critical Realism IMHO is still via Andrew Collier.  Begin
> there and then dive in.
> 
> As to why I post on this list, well the Bhaskar list is  home to some of
> the most brilliant minds that I have met.  Moreover, as I teach at a
> university where there is the customary academic dislike of abstract
> thought and radical ideas, being on this list and going to the Critical
> Realist conferences have been truly exciting experiences for me.
> 
> As for Alethia that makes its debut as a concept in Bhaskar's Dialectic:
> The Pulse of Freedom. It is the fourth level of Bhaskar's four part model
> of truth.  The First level is called the normative-fiduciary level.`  I
> call this the communicative level.  It means that when I speak what I claim
> to be the truth I am asking someone to trust me and to believe me. the
> second level is epistemological.  I have discovered and articulated the
> truth.  It has become part of knowledge.  As such it can be mistaken or can
> be superseded.  this is known as epistemological relativism and those who
> accuse Bhaskar of wanting to be a world historical figure or guru would do
> well to ponder on his commitment to epistemic relativism.
> 
> The third level of truth is ontological.  It has an absolute dimension to
> it.  As Hobsbawm says, Elvis is either dead or he is not.
> 
> At the fourth level we get to truth or alethia as the reason for
> things.  This is extremely controversial and by no means a simple
> notion.  I like to explain it through reference to neuroleptic
> medication.   We know these medications can have an effect on
> schizophrenia.  But we do not know why.  They bind to certain receptors in
> the brain and interfere with the take up of chemicals such as dopamine and
> serotonin.  But they also increase the uptake of glutamate and may also
> have an anti-viral effect.  In addition there are some 20% of the
> schizophrenia sufferers who receive no benefit from the current crop of
> drugs. So the earlier notion that schizophrenia is due to an excess of
> dopamine for instance has not been established.  In other words we have not
> achieved alethia or the reason why the drugs have a (partial) efficacy) nor
> have we achieved alethia in terms of the causes of schizophrenia.
> 
> Finally all of the above is of course subject to argument!  BTW you ask
> whether I was here for the argument.  No one who knows me would even
> suspect that I simply argue for the sake of argument.
> 
> Would I argue just to argue?  Never!
> Not ever?
> Well, hardly ever.
> 
> warm regards
> 
> Gary
> 
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