[OPE-L] David Harvey on Critical Realism

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Mon Mar 06 2006 - 09:33:33 EST

From the Critical-Realism mailing list.  I have cleaned-up Harvey's
post by correcting a few typos. / In solidarity, Jerry

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Bhaskar message, Re [Critical-Realism] Historical Materialism

> Mervyn Hartwig wrote:
>> Hi Ismail
>> Bhaskar's view, which I share, is that the mature Marx is a scientific
>> realist and (dialectical) critical naturalist in the CR sense; i.e.the
>> philosophy implicitly informing his work is basically similar to CR.
>> (This doesn't mean that it isn't also consistent with other research
>> programmes).
>> So all you have to do is figure out the basic CR positions on persons,
>> society, geo-history, etc. and you have the specific homologies.
>> Plus figure out which ones show a direct influence - e.g. the
>> conception of society as an ensemble of social relations comes from
>> Marx. Bhaskar assesses and critiques Marx in some detail in DPF.
>> Hope this helps.
>> Mervyn
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "i.lagardien-alumni" <snip, JL>
>> Hi Everyone
>> Can someone identify, or clarify specific homologies between Critical
>> Realism and Historical Materialism, please.
>> Ismail <snip, JL>

As a Critical Marxist, I can only second Mervyn's evaluation of Marx
and Critical Realism. I have found Bhaskar's work immensely helpful in
framing my sociological analysis. His TMSA is especially useful in
that it  demands a  material concreteness that dialectical sense that
often disciplines my research. I would venture a guess--and elict
comment as well--that Bhaskar's work performs ahomologous function
similar to that played by the triad of Wittgenstein/Sraffa/ Gramsci in
the thirties and forties in reframing Marxist thought.   Lastly, and
most germane from a purely professional promotion perspective, Bhaskar,
along with Talcott Parsons and Pierre Bourdieu, also serves as a
valuable scapegoat when I screw up my analysis.

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