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Critical Theory and EpistemologyThe Politics of Modern Thought and Science$
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Anastasia Marinopoulou

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781526105370

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526105370.001.0001

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Critical realism

Critical realism

(p.139) 5 Critical realism
Critical Theory and Epistemology

Anastasia Marinopoulou

Manchester University Press

Critical realism attempted to ground dialectics in realism.Roy Bhaskar insisted on presenting the epistemological validity of mechanisms which, as he maintains, encompass both perception and the laws that guide science towards predictability. Bhaskar’s conception of dialectics is already apparent in his A Realist Theory of Science, and it governs all his work until his Dialectic, which is probably one of his final contributions to the issue of science and epistemology. In the present chapter I argue that his idea of predictability in science through mechanisms is of a pre-critical character and that he fails to acknowledge that norms generate rationality.Although Bhaskar claims to place dialectics within reality, he fails to grasp that his claim is not enough for an ‘other’ epistemology over which he also claims jurisdiction. He grounds an epistemological ontology that renders dialectics testable but not accountable, which leads him to form more an epistemological methodology and less an ontology of science, as he initially wished. My critique focuses on the issue that while his dialectics might generate a methodological testability, it neither signifies a commitment for science to theorize and act rationally, nor renders it accountable to the consequences of science within social conditions.

Keywords:   Realism, Bhaskar, Dialectics, Accountability, Transfactuality, Negation, Identity, Totality, Praxis, Actualism

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