Enlightened Common Sense: The Philosophy of Critical Realism (Paperback) book cover

Enlightened Common Sense

The Philosophy of Critical Realism

By Roy Bhaskar

Edited by Mervyn Hartwig

© 2016 – Routledge

226 pages | 20 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780415583794
pub: 2016-06-30
SAVE ~$9.59
Hardback: 9780415583787
pub: 2016-06-30
SAVE ~$31.00

FREE Standard Shipping!
Look Inside e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

Since the 1970s, critical realism has grown to address a range of subjects, including economics, philosophy, science, and religion. It has become a complex and mature philosophy.

Enlightened Common Sense: The Philosophy of Critical Realism looks back over this development in one concise and accessible volume. The late Roy Bhaskar was critical realism’s philosophical originator and chief exponent. He draws on a lifetime’s experience to give a definitive, systematic account of this increasingly influential, international and multidisciplinary approach.

Critical realism’s key element has always been its vindication and deepening of our understanding of ontology. Arguing that realist ontology is inexorable in knowledge and action, Bhaskar sees this as the key to a new enlightened common sense. From the definition of critical realism and its applicability in the social sciences, to explanation of dialectical critical realism and the philosophy of metaReality, this is the essential introduction for students of critical realism.


Roy Bhaskar’s too-brief life was a gift to humanity. His life's work gave us a solid ontological grounding for all those intuitions that most of us feel we should be able to justify, but are constantly being told by the reigning intellectual authorities we can’t: that the world, and other people, are real, that freedom is inherent in the nature of the cosmos, that genuine human flourishing can never be at the expense of others. He lived to provide the intellectual heavy artillery for simple common decency and good sense. Much of his work was written in exceedingly difficult language. This book however, makes it accessible to those who have the most to gain from it: anyone trying to make the world a better place.

David Graeber, Anthropologist; sometime revolutionary; Professor at London School of Economics, UK.

Roy Bhaskar writes: ‘If there is a single big idea in critical realism it is the idea of ontology.’One big idea, perhaps, but Bhaskar developed it in three very different and equally innovative ways. From early depth ontology, through rethinking dialectical negativity, to the metaphysics of metaReality, Bhaskar pushed his thought – and himself. Guided always by the lodestar of emancipation, this final work demonstrates the unity in the three phases of his thought. Always willing to go against the mainstream, it is a fitting final tribute to a great philosopher.

Alan Norrie, Professor, University of Warwick, UK.

Table of Contents

1. On the Presuppositions and Origins of the Philosophy of Critical Realism

2. Transcendental Realism and the Philosophy of Science

3. Critical Naturalism and the Philosophy of the Social/Human Sciences

4. Applied Critical Realism and Interdisciplinarity

5. Ethics and Language: Explanatory Critique and Critical Discourse Analysis

6. The Further Development of Critical Realism I: Dialectical Critical Realism

7. The Further Development of Critical Realism II: The Philosophy of metaReality

8. The Critique of the Philosophical Discourse of Modernity and the Western Philosophical Tradition

9. Critical Realism and the Ontology of the Good Society

About the Author/Editor

Roy Bhaskar (1944-2014) was the originator of the philosophy of critical realism and the author of many acclaimed and influential works, including A Realist Theory of Science, The Possibility of Naturalism, Scientific Realism and Human Emancipation, Dialectic: The Pulse of Freedom, Plato Etc., Reflections on MetaReality, From Science to Emancipation and (with Mervyn Hartwig) The Formation of Critical Realism. He was an author of Critical Realism: Essential Readings, Interdisciplinarity and Climate Change, Ecophilosophy in a World of Crisis and was the founding chair of the Centre for Critical Realism. He was also a World Scholar and Director of the International Centre of Critical Realism at the University of London Institute of Education.

Mervyn Hartwig is the founding editor of the Journal of Critical Realism and editor and principal author of the Dictionary of Critical Realism.

About the Series

Ontological Explorations (Routledge Critical Realism)

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Criticism
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General