File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_2000/bhaskar.0010, message 73

Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2000 11:51:25 +0100
Subject: Re: BHA: categorial necessities?

Dear Nick

I can't see how referring to 1m-4D as 'universally applicable
abstractions' does not commit you to the view, as a realist, that
reality *is* structured in the ways indicated - ontological depth and
polyvalence, holistic causality, etc - and that these are in some sense
fundamental, indicating the basic 'shape' or 'contours' of reality, as
Roy put it in RTS. If so, then you do hold that reality has a
fundamental structure to which our categories in the TD refer (or can
do); and whether we should refer to this as reality's 'categorial
structure' or just its 'fundamental structure' would seem a largely
terminological issue were it not that Roy seems to exploit the notion of
categorial structure to take his system in the direction of idealism and
absolutism as you suggest.


Nick Hostettler <> writes
>Dear Caroline,
>>Caroline New <> writes
>> >Hello all,
>> >Isn't this business of absence being a transcendentally necessary category
>> >part of what was disputed in the CCR conference during Mervyn and Nick's
>> >session on FEW?
>> >
>> >As I understand categories, ABSENCE is transcendentally necessary for
>> >causation and change to be able to occur, but the CATEGORY of absence isn't
>> >necessary at all, since I see that as part of the human, transitive world,
>> >and there was certainly plenty of causation and change in our absence...
>> >i.e. before humans came along.
>> >
>You are quite right in what you say in the second paragraph.
>Two other issues were at stake at Lancaster between ourselves and Roy. The 
>first was whether or not reality has a categorial structure which is 
>captured by the system of categories. The second is whether or not there is 
>a second categorial structure which Roy refers to as 'absolute' and 
>describes the categorial structure of ideal reality and is somehow 
>'fundamentally constitutive' of reality.
>The debate on the first of these would be over the status of the referent 
>of philosophy. Categories do refer to aspects of reality. However, Roy's 
>1M-4D system developed in DPF provides us with a system of internally 
>related categories. This system could not be said to refer to the 
>'categorial structure of reality'. Instead, it should be seen as working 
>through the logical implications of universally applicable abstractions. 
>The categorial logic, or grammar, of DPF provides us with a general 
>framework within which we conceptualise substantive realities. We draw on 
>the system whenever we refer to reality. When we depart from this logic or 
>grammar we fall into irrealism.
>If this is right, then the second issue falls by the wayside from the 
>start. If there is no 'categorial structure of reality' then there is no 
>'absolute categorial structure'. If we let this go for the moment the idea 
>of the absolute raises other questions. Most problematic is the idea that 
>this structure of being is 'fundamentally consititutive' to reality. e.g. 
>the structure of the eudaimonistic society is 'fundamentally constitutive' 
>of all social reality. What this idea means is that the structure of a 
>social condition which it is hoped could come about in the future is 
>somehow constitutive of all other social conditions. Roy develops this idea 
>as a way of guaranteeing the possibility that eudaimonia is always and 
>everywhere a possibility. In so doing it by-passes all questions about 
>specific historical conditions of possibility.
>What we see happening in Roy's thought is a progressive expansion of the 
>claims being made on behalf of philosophy. While I'm very keen to 
>acknowledge that philosophy has a genuinely constructive role to play in 
>the development of our knowledge about the world, and to acknowledge Roy's 
>contribution,  I'm also very keen to keep that role within its proper limits.
>Perhaps I should have siad that what the limits of philosophy are is what 
>was really at stake between ourselves and Roy and those who accept the idea 
>in FEW.
>     --- from list ---

Mervyn Hartwig
13 Spenser Road
Herne Hill
London SE24 ONS
United Kingdom
Tel: 020 7 737 2892

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