The argument presented in this book is that the recent ‘spiritual’ trajectory of Roy Bhaskar’s work, upon which he first embarked with the publication of his From East to West, undermines the fundamental achievements of his earlier work. The problem with Bhaskar’s new philosophical system (Transcendental Dialectical Critical Realism or simply Meta-Reality), from the critical-realist Marxist perspective endorsed here, is that it marks both a departure from and a negation of the earlier concerns of Bhaskar to develop a realist philosophy of science and under-labour for an emancipatory materialist socio-historical science. The end-result is a meta-philosophy which is irrealist, speculative, under-theorized, internally self-contradictory, and which cannot provide philosophical guidance to liberatory social practices. In opposition to theist ontological logics more generally (including the rather more rational theism presented by Margaret Archer, Andrew Collier and Doug Porpora), the argument of this book is that the earth-bound materialist dialectics of the classical Marxist tradition, and the naturalistic humanism these dialectics under-labour on the terrain of socio-historical being, offer a much more promising way forward for critical realist theory and for liberatory politics and ethics.
Critical Realism is a broad movement within philosophy and social science. It is a movement that began in British philosophy and sociology following the founding work of Roy Bhaskar, Margaret Archer and others. Critical Realism emerged from the desire to realise an adequate realist philosophy of science, social science, and of critique. Against empiricism, positivism and various idealisms (interpretivism, radical social constructionism), Critical Realism argues for the necessity of ontology. The pursuit of ontology is the attempt to understand and say something about ‘the things themselves’ and not simply about our beliefs, experiences, or our current knowledge and understanding of those things. Critical Realism also argues against the implicit ontology of the empiricists and idealists of events and regularities, reducing reality to thought, language, belief, custom, or experience. Instead Critical Realism advocates a structural realist and causal powers approach to natural and social ontology, with a focus upon social relations and process of social transformation.
Important movements within Critical Realism include the morphogenetic approach developed by Margaret Archer; Critical Realist economics developed by Tony Lawson; as well as dialectical Critical Realism (embracing being, becoming and absence) and the philosophy of metaReality (emphasising priority of the non-dual) developed by Roy Bhaskar.
For over thirty years, Routledge has been closely associated with Critical Realism and, in particular, the work of Roy Bhaskar, publishing well over fifty works in, or informed by, Critical Realism (in series including Critical Realism: Interventions; Ontological Explorations; New Studies in Critical Realism and Education). These have all now been brought together under one series dedicated to Critical Realism.
The Centre for Critical Realism is the advisory editorial board for the series. If you would like to know more about the Centre for Critical Realism, or to submit a book proposal, please visit www.centreforcriticalrealism.com.