File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_2000/bhaskar.0009, message 93

Subject: BHA: Bhaskar, Kant and the epistemic fallacy
Date: Sat, 30 Sep 2000 17:49:10 +0100

Hi Nick, Ruth, and listers

Ruth, firstly I want to explain why I didn't have a go at replying to your
query about Kant on sense perception.  I agreed with what you said about the
assertion of a non-mental reality not being sufficient to dispose of Kant's
account of perception.  But then you said the question is really "just how
synthetic of an operation perception in the end is".  I'm not sure what you
mean by this so I held my silence.  Clarification please.  If you are
arguing that Roy has not got hold of the real idealism in Kant's position
then you are probably on to something.  For me these questions about
epistemology tend to come down to:  is the object primary over the subject,
and if not then I think you have idealism.

On your inquiry about the epistemic fallacy, Ruth, I didn't understand who
is supposed to be claiming that "The only thing that exists is knowledge
(defined as empiricism)".  Is it Bhaskar in RTS?  Have you got a page
reference?  I agree with what you say about Kant's transcendental idealism
being most clearly where he commits the epistemic fallacy.
    I think Nick has given a useful account of the relationship between the
epistemic and ontic fallacies.  I agree with Nick that ontologies and
epistemologies are inextricably intertwined.  I also agree with what Nick
says about empirical realism and empiricism.  On Kant, I can see what Nick
means about Roy's categorial realism being an attempt to overcome the
dualism of Kant's phenomenal and noumenal, but I would have to look at some
quotes from Bhaskar to see how much he convinces me that his own position is
not dualist.  Have you considered the diagram on p145 of RTS?  Here it seems
to me that Roy's category of the real could be eliding the distinction
between the transitive and the intransitive dimensions, and might not
actually establish the primacy of the intransitive material world, but might
compress it into the transitive procedures of scientific discovery.

And just to complicate matters we have Roy's recent plenary statement at the
Lancaster CR conference about categorial realism which seemed to imply that
if God was a category then God was real.  But how do we then distinguish
fiction from reality?  I try to do it by recurring to material reality, and
the object, and reminding myself that there is an intransitive dimension.
It seems to me that Roy's work, though pathbreaking, contains many
ultimately idealist formulations about the relationship between thought and

Ruth, from the above I would therefore agree with you that it is Kant's
transcendental idealism, and not so much his empirical realism, which is the
paradigmatic instance of the epistemic fallacy in his work.  I agree that
Roy in RTS has not dealt with this idealism.  You seem to be on to something
big.  Have you checked the Kant references in Roy's later works to see if
Roy has a convincing critique of transcendental idealism?

Warm regards,

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