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Two modes for becoming who we are 

The self as painting: we become who we are through repetition and representation. Encumbered only by our imagination and the culture in which we find ourselves, we craft ourselves through iterated projects of self-representation. We might find the materials available to us limiting, in which case we might seek out […]

Denial and the Antinomies of (Post)Truth

Rarely can a film have been as timely as Denial. It tells the story of the libel action the holocaust denying historian David Irving took against Deborah Lipstadt and her publisher, alleging that she had damaged his professional reputation as a historian by claiming he had wilfully distorted evidence. The film recounts the events […]

A glossary of critical realist terminology

I hadn’t realised this was still online. It’s a very useful resource: Absence Actualism Change Closed and Open Systems Completion Constellation Critique and Transcendental Argument Determinism Dialectics Differentiation and Stratification Emergence Epistemic and Ontic Fallacies Epistemic Relativism and Judgmental Rationality Ethical Naturalism and Moral Realism Explanation Fact-Value Facts Laws Metaphysics […]

Rorty, Realism and the Idea of Freedom

In contrast to the scorn which Rorty’s name now provokes in some quarters, it’s arresting to see the esteem in which he was held by Roy Bhaskar in the late 80s, albeit in the context of a trenchant philosophical critique. He commends Rorty’s “eloquent critique of the epistemological problematic” but […]

Roy Bhaskar on the Fetishisation of Facts

What is a ‘fact’? This deceptively simple question provides a route into the most pressing issues concerning the philosophy of science. In a short essay, “Philosophies as Ideologies of Science: A Contribution to the Critique of Positivism”, Roy Bhaskar offers a compelling answer to this question which impressively incorporates an […]

The Realist Critique of Materialism

Just invoking materialism without specifying exactly what the sense is does not get you very far. It is often claimed that ideas and ideology have a material existence ultimately rooted in physical matter. But what is physical matter? If you go down one level of the stratification of nature you […]