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Critical realism and beyond: Roy Bhaskar's dialectic

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Chapter Summary

For some twenty years now, critical realism - the body of philosophical doctrines and arguments developed by Roy Bhaskar - has served as a rallying point for radical theorists in the English-speaking world who wish to escape from empiricism without falling prisoner to postmodernism. Bhaskar's project emerged fully formed in his remarkable first book, A Realist Theory of Science. This took the form of an intervention in the debates among anglophone philosophers of science. Critical realism won support especially among left-wing researchers in a variety of disciplines, making possible the regular meetings of the Standing Conference on Realism in the Human Sciences, and, more recently, of the conferences organised by Bhaskar's Centre on Critical Realism. Bhaskar defines 'dialectical arguments as transcendental arguments establishing, inter alia, ontological conclusions'. It is clear that the most important of these conclusions concern the social rather that the physical world.

Keywords: critical realism; Roy Bhaskar; transcendental philosophy



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