File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_2001/bhaskar.0106, message 34

Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2001 01:24:37 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: BHA: Are Bhaskar's early works arguments for idealism? 

Hi Mervyn, all,

Thanks for your response.  I gave my post a provocative heading so as to
lure others into the discussion!    

Re: the Bhaskar of RTS being agnostic, at bast, with respect to metaphysical
materialism: the strongest argument for this reading, it seems to me, is
that stuff at the end about how the ultimate constituents of nature might be
force fields or whatever. (How's that for philosophical jargon?)  

But I just find it such a stretch to construe what Bhaskar was doing in
those early books as advancing, or even remaining neutral with respect to,
idealism.  I guess maybe you could say that he was rejecting subjective
idealism and Kantian transcendental idealism, yet not rejecting objective
idealism, but I don't know; it just seems implausible.  

I mean, if he didn't want to rule out objective idealism, why did he call
his stance in PON "synchronic emergent powers *materialism*" (emphasis
mine)?  It just doesn't sit right to say "Oh, well, actually, what he meant
by 'materialism' there was, or at least might have been, objective
idealism."  (Not that you are saying this; I just want to make the point
that not all circles can be squared - no geometrical puns intended.)  It's
no doubt worth tracing the origin of Bhaskar's present commitment to
idealism as far back in his work as possible (and may I take this moment to
remind everyone that I called with with DPF), but still, I'm orepared to say
that if RTS was not intended (at least consciously) as a materialist, and
*not* idealist, account of causality, then there is something ... well,
disengenuous about it.  

But I don't know; maybe I'm wrong.  I guess it really could be just a
critique of subjective and transcendental idealism, but not of objective

What do other people think?  Is transcendental realism an idealist
philosophy, do you think?

Meanwhile, I heartily second Ronny's recommendation of Brian Ellis'
*Scientific Essentialism*. 


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