Originally published in 1989, Reclaiming Reality still provides the most accessible introduction to the increasingly influential multi-disciplinary and international body of thought, known as critical realism. It is designed to "underlabour" both for the sciences, especially the human sciences, and for the projects of human emancipation which such sciences may come to inform; and provides an enlightening intervention in current debates about realism and relativism, positivism and poststucturalism, modernism and postmodernism, etc.
Elaborating his critical realist perspective on society, nature, science and philosophy itself, Roy Bhaskar shows how this perspective can be used to undermine currently fashionable ideologies of the Right, and at the same time, to clear the ground for a reinvigorated Left. Reclaiming Reality contains powerful critiques of some of the most important schools of thought and thinkers of recent years—from Bachelard and Feyerabend to Rorty and Habermas; and it advances novel and convincing resolutions of many traditional philosophical problems.
Now with a new introduction from Mervyn Hartwig, this book continues to provide a straightforward and stimulating introduction to current debates in philosophy and social theory for the interested lay reader and student alike. Reclaiming Reality will be of particular value not only for critical realists but for all those concerned with the revitalization of the socialist emancipatory project and the renaissance of the Marxist theoretical tradition.
"Bhaskar has provided what is, arguably, the most comprehensive, the most rigorous and the best available account of the sciences, both natural and social." –Gerry Webster (Biology Forum 1989)
"Breathtaking in the scope and power of its immanent critique of contemporary philosophy." –Andrew Sayer (International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 1990)
"Bhaskar has fashioned a wholly new context for argumentation about social ontology . . . His work merits enormous critical attention in all the human sciences." –John Shotter (History of the Human Sciences 1991)
"Contains perhaps the finest brief historical and methodological assessment in English of the major issues in Marx’s philosophy." –Michael Sprinker (New Left Review 1992)
Preface 1. Critical Realism, Social Relations and Arguing for Socialism 2. Realism in the Natural Sciences 3. Feyerabend and Bachelard: Two Philosophies of Science 4. Philiosophies as Ideologies of Science: A Contribution to the Critique of Positivism 5. On the Possibility of Social Scientific Knowledge and the Limits of Naturalism 6. Scientific Explanation and Human Emancipation 7. Dialectics, Materialism and Theory of Knowledge 8. Rorty, Realism and the Idea of Freedom 9. What is Critical Realism? Notes