File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_2001/bhaskar.0106, message 36


Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2001 18:07:36 +0100
Subject: Re: BHA: Bhaskar, Marx and self-consciousness


Dear Tobin

See my response to Ruth (I got yours after I sent it), which I think
addresses some of your points.

>one
>of the things that bothers me about claiming God as a CR category
I'm not claiming that God is a CR category, only that there can be a
realist theory of God and that I think we by and large have one in TDCR
(as Jan Straathof first suggested on this list; but of course Bhaskar
himself calls it realist). One doesn't have to accept it to be a CR (I
don't)...

>The supreme powers that would be God, it seems to me, have to
>be emergent, in which case God is also susceptible to certain things and
>hence cannot be omnipotent.  On the other hand, if (as FEW claims) God is
>pure dispositionality and the ultimate condition for the possibility of
>everything, then everything that is actual (not just possible) has power
>over God, who therefore can't do much of anything. 

The absolute, which has always existed, is emergent in, informs, the
relative world of finitude in an infinity of universes. Think of it like
this. Rock bottom reality for quantum physics currently is (rightly or
wrongly) quantum seas of potentia or if you like 'pure dispositionality'
(a notion already canvassed in RTS) (another name might be 'energy'). If
you now call this (or whatever is in fact ultimate), plus the basic
structuring principles (implicate order) of the cosmos, 'God', in what
way is it incompatible with CR categories (other than the 'materialism'
of SEPM)? It commits to ontological idealism, but this can be and
arguably is in FEW a form of realism. Of course, religious experience is
now allowed to be a means of knowing, for science can never know whether
it has indeed reached rock bottom reality, but Bhaskar has always held
that science is not the only means of knowing, and if the results are
not incompatible with those obtained via the dialectic of philosophy and
science, on what basis can we say that they are mistaken? One can only
say that one's own experience has not convinced one of them. 

I can't see that God's omnipotence is necessarily qualified in such a
conception - on the contrary, 'pure dispositionality' both endures and
assumes an (expanding and proliferating!) infinitude of finite forms
whose 'limits' are evanescent... Bhaskar himself btw (FEW 31n) seems to
hedge his bets re whether God *is* omnipotent ('without limitation'),
saying that if so 'we may have to think the concept of degrees or orders
of omnipotence'.

It's not really for me of course, an agnostic, to defend a realist
theory of God. My main point is that it seems philosophically,
scientifically and politically problematic to assume that any and every
concept of God is irrealist. Marx of course ('the comet of critical
realism') didn't agree - he was an atheist, conceiving (as DPF puts it,
94) 'infinite mind as illusory projections of alienated finite beings,
in Feuerbachian fashion', but what good has that done the the
eudaimonian project? There is little question that such projection does
occur, but I doubt it exhausts religious experience, and there seems no
warrant in modern science to say categorically that God doesn't exist.
In any case, notwithstanding his atheism, Marx arguably had a
fundamentally religious sensibility (as James Daly argues) - communism
is 'the *true realization* of the human foundation of religion' (On the
Jewish Question). So he's on about the same thing as many religious
folk, albeit exclusively on planet earth.

Mervyn


Tobin Nellhaus <nellhaus-AT-gis.net> writes
>Sort of pursuant to Ruth's post, I'll repeat Mervyn's paragraph:
>
>> I myself am agnostic, but fail to see why, for those who've had a
>> religious experience, there can't be a realist (as distinct from
>> irrealist) concept of God. The Bhaskarian God of FEW as far as I can see
>> adds little to what was already in the DCR system. There were (very
>> likely) ultimate causal powers or dispositions before, though unknowable
>> to science, and there was order and boundedness in the cosmos, ultimate
>> categorial structures (now termed the binding force of unconditional
>> love...).
>
>Now, I'm not sure what Mervyn has in mind here by "realist" either, but one
>of the things that bothers me about claiming God as a CR category is that I
>don't see any real specificity to the structure or generative mechanism that
>would be God.  The supreme powers that would be God, it seems to me, have to
>be emergent, in which case God is also susceptible to certain things and
>hence cannot be omnipotent.  On the other hand, if (as FEW claims) God is
>pure dispositionality and the ultimate condition for the possibility of
>everything, then everything that is actual (not just possible) has power
>over God, who therefore can't do much of anything.  Basically, it looks to
>me that within a CR framework of a stratified universe consisting of
>entities with various powers and susceptibilities, God is a contradiction in
>terms.  That doesn't sound very realist to me.  Or am I missing something?
>
>Fallibly,  T.
>
>---
>Tobin Nellhaus
>nellhaus-AT-mail.com
>"Faith requires us to be materialists without flinching": C.S. Peirce
>
>
>
>
>     --- from list bhaskar-AT-lists.village.virginia.edu ---

-- 
Mervyn Hartwig
13 Spenser Road
Herne Hill
London SE24 ONS
United Kingdom
Tel: 020 7 737 2892
Email: mh-AT-jaspere.demon.co.uk


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