The Subject of Human Being presents a sweeping account of the nature of human existence. As a work of philosophical anthropology, the analysis ranges from the basic powers emerging from the mind, to our extraordinary psychological capacities, to the shared sociocultural worlds we inhabit. The book integrates different perspectives on social ontology from a selection of philosophers and theorists, whose advances toward understanding the relationship between individuals and society ought to revolutionize social theory as understood and practiced in the social sciences and humanities. Although grounded in critical realist philosophy of Roy Bhaskar and the social theory of Margaret Archer, the book also draws from philosophy of mind, phenomenology of consciousness, psychoanalytic theory, virtue ethics, and personalism to support and extend its arguments. Four elements of human existence are examined: the nature of consciousness, agency, subjectivity, and the social world. Thus, it addresses related issues of power, the agent-structure problem, the formation of beliefs and desires, human universals, and human rights. Portraying a unified social theory that is materialist, realist, dialectical, and centered on emergence, and offering a comprehensive and progressive theory of human being, this book is essential reading for students and scholars of critical realism, philosophy, and the social sciences.
2. Philosophical Materialism
3. The Ontology of Consciousness
4. The Ontology of Subjectivity
5. The Subject of Psychoanalysis
6. The Subject of Structure
7. Social Ontology
8. The Conclusion
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.