File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_2003/bhaskar.0312, message 281

Subject: BHA: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: "The Real" and what is point of whacking anti-realists?
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2003 08:17:51 -0500

Hi Dick,

Maybe one way to think about the problem is to conduct a thought experiment.

What is something objective that does not have causal powers?

Meanings, for example, are causal, if they are, once they are expressed.
Their causal force goes with their objectivity and, perhaps, vice versa.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Moodey, Richard W" <>
To: <bhaskar-AT-lists.village.Virginia.EDU>
Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2003 4:26 PM
Subject: BHA: RE: Re: RE: Re: "The Real" and what is point of whacking

> Hi Howard,
> No, I didn't think you were uncritical of Habermas' view.  You are right
in pointing out that I didn't really respond to your question about causal
powers.  I'm still thinking about that.  My first inclination is to say
"yes," but with some hesitation.  My inclination to agree comes from the
same kind of considerations you have mentioned.  My hesitation stems from
what I mean when I call myself a "critical realist" rather than just a
"realist."  It has a lot to do with epistemology.  And my turning to
episemology makes me a different kind of critical realist than Bhaskar.
> Lonergan argues that "the real" or "the objective" is not to be identified
with what he calls "the already out there now, real."  Equating "the
objective world" with "mind-independent" objects having "causal powers"
seems close to being another version of "the already out there now, real,"
but I want to stress the "seems." I'm not sure.
> There is the objectivity of propositions, which is the same as their
truth.  They are true/objective is they are verified, if they satisfy the
criteria of judgment we hold to be relevant.  I no more accept the notion of
"alethic objectivity" than I do of "alethic truth."
> There is also the objectivity of objects.  This requires a patterned set
of judgments -- affirmations that there is a real world, that I have the
ability to know this world, and the denial that something in the world is
some part of myself.  "I am not this computer."  "I am not this tree."  Even
though the computer is man-made and the tree is not, that makes no
difference about their respective capacities for being objects.
> As a sociologist, it is important for me to assert that many of the
objects in my world are also subjects.  When I say "I am not this other
person," I also go on to say "this other has the same basic powers of
feeling and knowing and chosing as I."  That means that other people are
objects who are also subjects.  So I really don't see "subjectivity" as
being the opposite of "objectivity."  I attribute to subjects causal powers
similar to my own.
> Forgive the rambling nature of my response.
> Dick
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Howard Engelskirchen []
> Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2003 3:40 PM
> To: bhaskar-AT-lists.village.Virginia.EDU
> Subject: BHA: Re: RE: Re: "The Real" and what is point of whacking
> Hi Dick,
> Be sure you haven't confused my suggestion with Habermas's view of
objectivity.  I was the one that asked whether what really made the
objective world objective was causal powers.
> I'd like to find a way to formulate this correctly.  Obviously things we
make are objective.  And Habermas would without doubt agree.  But what makes
the house we walk into, or the ball we drop, objective?  What makes it fully
mind independent?  Isn't it the fact that it has causal powers?
> This is an inquiry.
> Howard
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Moodey, Richard W" <>
> To: <bhaskar-AT-lists.village.Virginia.EDU>
> Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2003 3:10 PM
> Subject: BHA: RE: Re: "The Real" and what is point of whacking
> > Hi Howard,
> >
> > Yes, Adorno's statement would be more acceptable to me if it read:
> > "They
> live in social being *and also* in nature.  All of my interactions with
nature are not mediated through consciousness -- e.g., I am not conscious of
all the little bugs in my gut helping my digest my lunchtime sandwich.
> >
> > Regarding Habermas' assertion -- that might be his "concept of the
> objective world," but it isn't mine.  I think the stuff we make is part of
the objective world.  Sorry Jurgen.
> >
> > I have no problem at all with the distinction between science and
> engineering, but this might be related to my being only a sympathetic
outsider relative to Marxism.  My experience has been that "real" Marxists
often reject this distinction.
> >
> > Howard, you quote Habermas:
> >
> > "Everyday routines and habituated communication work on the basis of
> certainties that guide our actions.  This 'knowledge' that we draw on
performatively has the Platonic connotation that we are operating with
'truths' -- with sentences whose truth conditions are fulfilled.  As soon as
such certainties are dislodged from the framework of what we take for
granted in the lifeworld [by the resistance it meets in the way the world
actually is, ie by our failures and frustrations -- howard's note] and are
thus no longer naively accepted, they become just so many questionable
assumptions.  In the transition from action to discourse, what is taken to
be true is the first thing to shed its mode of practical certainty and to
take on instead the form of a hypothetical statement whose validity remains
undetermined until it passes or fails the test of argumentation.  Looking
beyond the level of argumentation, we can comprehend the pragmatic role of a
Janus-faced truth that establishes th
> >  e desired internal connection between performative certainty and
> warranted assertability."
> >
> > I like that.  So maybe Jurgen will forgive me for having a different
> concept of the objective world.
> >
> > You come back to the distinction between science and engineering:
> >
> >  "if engineering is taken to be the domain action (of performative
> certainty) and science restricted to the domain of discourse, you could
make some such argument as Steve has hinted at.  But it is a funny use of
the word science in any event.  And, more significantly, it implies, as
Habermas argues, a realism."
> >
> > I agree that science shouldn't be limited to the realm of discourse,
> > and
> that the boundaries between science and engineering are not water-tight,
and that they both imply realims.
> >
> > Dick
> >
> >
> >      --- from list ---
>      --- from list ---
>      --- from list ---

     --- from list ---


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