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A Realist Theory of Science

Routledge (1975)

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  1. Avatars of the Collective: A Realist Theory of Collective Subjectivities.Frédéric Vandenberghe - 2007 - Sociological Theory 25 (4):295-324.
    Let it be a network of voices... A network of voices that not only speak, but also struggle and resist for humanity.
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  • Justifying Sociological Knowledge: From Realism to Interpretation.Isaac Reed - 2008 - Sociological Theory 26 (2):101-129.
    In the context of calls for "postpositivist" sociology, realism has emerged as a powerful and compelling epistemology for social science. In transferring and transforming scientific realism --a philosophy of natural science--into a justificatory discourse for social science, realism splits into two parts: a strict, highly naturalistic realism and a reflexive, more mediated, and critical realism. Both forms of realism, however, suffer from conceptual ambiguities, omissions, and elisions that make them an inappropriate epistemology for social science. Examination of these problems in (...)
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  • Epistemology Contextualized: Social-Scientific Knowledge in a Postpositivist Era.Isaac Ariail Reed - 2010 - Sociological Theory 28 (1):20-39.
    In the production of knowledge about social life, two social contexts come together: the context of investigation, consisting of the social world of the investigator, and the context of explanation, consisting of the social world of the actors who are the subject of study. The nature of, and relationship between, these contexts is imagined in philosophy; managed, rewarded, and sanctioned in graduate seminars, journal reviews, and tenure cases; and practiced in research. Positivism proposed to produce objective knowledge by suppressing the (...)
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  • Causality and Critical Theory: Nature's Order in Adorno, Cartwright and Bhaskar.Craig Reeves - 2009 - Journal of Critical Realism 8 (3):316-342.
    In this paper I argue that Theodor W. Adorno 's philosophy of freedom needs an ontological picture of the world. Adorno does not make his view of natural order explicit, but I suggest it could be neither the chaotic nor the strictly determined ontological images common to idealism and positivism, and that it would have to make intelligible the possibility both of human freedom and of critical social science. I consider two possible candidates, Nancy Cartwright 's ‘patchwork of laws’, and (...)
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  • Radical Constructivism and its Failings: Anti‐Realism and Individualism.Mark Olssen - 1996 - British Journal of Educational Studies 44 (3):275-295.
    Radical constructivism has had a major influence on present-day education, especially in the teaching of science and mathematics. The article provides an epistemological profile of constructivism and considers its strengths and weaknesses from the standpoint of its educational implications. It is argued that there are two central problems with constructivism: anti- realism and individualism which, in turn, lead to difficulties associated with idealism and relativism which, together, prove fatal for the theory.
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  • Mixed Method Nursing Studies: A Critical Realist Critique: Original Article.Martin Lipscomb - 2008 - Nursing Philosophy 9 (1):32-45.
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  • Reclaiming Naturalized Critical Realism: Response to McWherter.Tuukka Kaidesoja - 2017 - Journal of Critical Realism 16 (2):200-222.
    ABSTRACTThis article responds to McWherter’s detailed critique of my assessment of Roy Bhaskar’s method of transcendental argumentation in chapter four of my Naturalizing Critical Realist Social Ontology. I begin by describing some naturalist ontological and epistemological views defended in my book, thereby showing that my naturalist challenge to the original version of critical realism is not only methodological but also substantial. I also indicate that this point is effectively downplayed in McWherter’s framing of the debate in terms of competing metaphilosophies. (...)
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  • The Specter of AIDS: Testimonial Activism in the Aftermath of the Epidemic.Claire Laurier Decoteau - 2008 - Sociological Theory 26 (3):230 - 257.
    Reporting on a study of activists living with HIV/AIDS who give testimonials of their experiences with the disease in various educational settings, this article employs the notion of 'haunting' as a means of analyzing the effect of social justice activism in the "aftermath" of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Because of a shift in both the discursive construction of AIDS and the material symptoms of the disease (due to widespread availability of anti-retroviral medication), the signified of AIDS is "out of joint" with (...)
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  • Applying the Stages of a Social Epistemology to School Policy Making.David Corson - 1990 - British Journal of Educational Studies 38 (3):259 - 276.
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  • FOCUS: Research in Business Ethics Business Ethics Research: Shaping the Agenda.Jane Collier - 1995 - Business Ethics, the Environment and Responsibility 4 (1):6-12.
    “The most significant outcome of effective business ethics research would be an improvement of ethical standards and ethical behaviour in organizations”. So how can such research be made effective? The author is Lecturer in Management Studies, University of Cambridge, and Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College.
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  • Risk, Trust and 'The Beyond' of the Environment: A Brief Look at the Recent Case of Mad Cow Disease in the United States.Michael S. Carolan - 2006 - Environmental Values 15 (2):233-252.
    The epistemologically distant nature of many of today's environmental risks greatly problematises conventional risk analyses that emphasise objectivity, materiality, factual specificity and certainty. Such analyses fail to problematise issues of ontology and epistemology, assuming a reality that is readily 'readable' and a corresponding knowledge of that reality that is asocial, objective and certain. Under the weight of modern, invisible, manufactured environmental risks, however, these assumptions begin to crack, revealing their tenuous nature. As this paper argues, statements of risk are ultimately (...)
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  • Nightingale's Realist Philosophy of Science.Sam Porter - 2001 - Nursing Philosophy 2 (1):14-25.
  • Utilization of Research Findings: A Matter of Research Tradition.Ruth Zuzovsky - 1994 - Knowledge, Technology & Policy 7 (4):78-93.
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  • Science Education as Emancipatory: The Case of Roy Bhaskar's Philosophy of Meta‐Reality.Michalinos Zembylas - 2006 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 38 (5):665–676.
    In this essay, I argue that Roy Bhaskar's philosophy of meta‐Reality creates the middle way to theorize emancipation in critical science education: between empiricism and idealism on the one hand, and naïve realism and relativism, on the other hand. This theorization offers possibilities to transcend the usual dichotomies and dualisms that are often perpetuated in some feminist and multiculturalist accounts of critical science education. Further, meta‐Reality suggests a radically new way to re‐visit the suspect notion of emancipation. The implications for (...)
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  • Science Education as Emancipatory: The Case of Roy Bhaskar's Philosophy of Meta‐Reality.Michalinos Zembylas - 2006 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 38 (5):665-676.
    In this essay, I argue that Roy Bhaskar's philosophy of meta‐Reality creates the middle way to theorize emancipation in critical science education: between empiricism and idealism on the one hand, and naïve realism and relativism, on the other hand. This theorization offers possibilities to transcend the usual dichotomies and dualisms that are often perpetuated in some feminist and multiculturalist accounts of critical science education. Further, meta‐Reality suggests a radically new way to re‐visit the suspect notion of emancipation. The implications for (...)
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  • The Bitcoin Protocol as a System of Power.Efpraxia D. Zamani - 2022 - Ethics and Information Technology 24 (1).
    In this study, I use the Critical Realism perspective of power to explain how the Bitcoin protocol operates as a system of power. I trace the ideological underpinnings of the protocol in the Cypherpunk movement to consider how notions of power shaped the protocol. The protocol by design encompasses structures, namely Proof of Work and Trustlessness that reproduce asymmetrical constraints on the entities that comprise it. These constraining structures generate constraining mechanisms, those of cost effectiveness and deanonymisation, which further restrict (...)
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  • Forgetting and Remembering Alienation Theory.Chris Yuill - 2011 - History of the Human Sciences 24 (2):103-119.
    Alienation theory has acted as the stimulus for a great deal of research and writing in the history of sociology. It has formed the basis of many sociological ‘classics’ focused on the workplace and the experiences of workers, and has also been mobilized to chart wider social malaise and individual troubles. Alienation theory usage has, however, declined significantly since its heyday of the 1960s and 1970s. Here, the reasons why alienation theory was ‘forgotten’ and what can be gained by ‘remembering’ (...)
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  • Scientists’ Ontological and Epistemological Views About Science From the Perspective of Critical Realism.Robyn Yucel - 2018 - Science & Education 27 (5-6):407-433.
    Including the perspectives of scientists about the nature and process of science is important for an authentic and nuanced portrayal of science in science education. The small number of studies that have explored scientists’ worldviews about science has thus far generated contradictory findings, with recent studies claiming that scientists simultaneously hold contradictory sophisticated and naïve views. This article reports on an exploratory study that uses the framework of Bhaskar’s critical realism to elicit and separately analyse academic scientists’ ontological and epistemological (...)
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  • Comment on Naturalizing Critical Realist Social Ontology.Petri Ylikoski - 2015 - Journal of Social Ontology 1 (2):333-340.
    This comment discusses Kaidesoja and raises the issue whether his analysis justifies stronger conclusions than he presents in the book. My comments focus on four issues. First, I argue that his naturalistic reconstruction of critical realist transcendental arguments shows that transcendental arguments should be treated as a rare curiosity rather than a general argumentative strategy. Second, I suggest that Kaidesoja’s analysis does not really justify his optimism about the usefulness of causal powers ontology in the social sciences. Third, I raise (...)
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  • Unification and Convergence in Archaeological Explanation: The Agricultural “Wave-of-Advance” and the Origins of Indo-European Languages.Alison Wylie - 1996 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 34 (S1):1-30.
    Given the diversity of explanatory practices that is typical of the sciences a healthy pluralism would seem to be desirable where theories of explanation are concerned. Nevertheless, I argue that explanations are only unifying in Kitcher's unificationist sense if they are backed by the kind of understanding of underlying mechanisms, dispositions, constitutions, and dependencies that is central to a causalist account of explanation. This case can be made through analysis of Kitcher's account of the conditions under which apparent improvements in (...)
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  • Does Business and Society Scholarship Matter to Society? Pursuing a Normative Agenda with Critical Realism and Neoinstitutional Theory.Tyler Earle Wry - 2009 - Journal of Business Ethics 89 (2):151-171.
    To date, B&S researchers have pursued their normative aims through strategic and moral arguments that are limited because they adopt a rational actor behavioral model and firm-level focus. I argue that it would be beneficial for B&S scholars to pursue alternate approaches based on critical realism (CR) and neoinstitutional theory (IT). Such a shift would have a number of benefits. For one, CR and IT recognize the complex roots of firm behavior and provide tools for its investigation. Both approaches also (...)
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  • First Among Equals: Christian Theology and Modern Philosophy.Paul Woods - 2017 - Transformation: An International Journal of Holistic Mission Studies 34 (3):165-175.
    Christian theology can and should interact with modern philosophical trends and ideas to remain relevant to contemporary society. The roots of critical engagement between theology and philosophy are ancient, going back to the nature of the Triune God and the Bible itself and his broad kingdom redemptive commission to the Church. Scripture is finite, anchored in space and time, but the truths within it can generate responses to new situations. Theology sits alongside other disciplines in a relationship of ‘first among (...)
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  • The Causal Argument Against Component Forces.Jessica Wilson - 2009 - Dialectica 63 (4):525-554.
    Do component forces exist in conjoined circumstances? Cartwright (1980) says no; Creary (1981) says yes. I'm inclined towards Cartwright's side in this matter, but find several problems with her argumentation. My primary aim here is to present a better, distinctly causal, argument against component forces: very roughly, I argue that the joint posit of component and resultant forces in conjoined circumstances gives rise to a threat of causal overdetermination, avoidance of which best proceeds via eliminativism about component forces. A secondary (...)
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  • Situated Objectivity, Values and Realism.Malcolm Williams - 2015 - European Journal of Social Theory 18 (1):76-92.
    This article is a defence of objectivity in sociology, not as is usually conceived as ‘value freedom’ or ‘procedural objectivity’, but rather as a socially constructed value that can nevertheless assist us in accessing social reality. It is argued that objectivity should not be seen as the opposite to subjectivity, but rather arising from particular intersubjectively held values held in particular times and places. The objectivity defended here is socially situated in the beliefs and values of communities. This on its (...)
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  • Social Objects, Causality and Contingent Realism.Malcolm Williams - 2009 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 39 (1):1-18.
    This paper is a realist argument for the existence of “social objects”. Social objects, I argue, are the outcome states of a contingent causal process and in turn posses causal properties. This argument has consequences for what we can mean by realism and consequences for the development of a realist methodology. Realism should abandon the notion of natural necessity in favour of a view that the “real” nature of the social world is contingent and necessity is only revealed in outcome (...)
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  • Structure, Agency and School Effectiveness: Researching a 'Failing' School.Robert Archer - 1999 - Educational Studies 25 (1):5-18.
    Qualitative data of a 'failing' junior school are used to highlight the ways in which a particular Local Education Authority (LEA) responded to 'serious weaknesses' outlined by a team of Office for Standards in Education inspectors and how staff mediated such LEA intervention. Such mediation will be theorised via the employment of analytical dualism, whereby structure and agency are held to be irreducible emergent strata of social reality. The purpose of this paper is not to complement and buttress the ideological (...)
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  • Reclaiming Metaphysical Truth for Educational Research.Robert Archer - 2002 - British Journal of Educational Studies 50 (3):339 - 362.
    It is not uncommon in educational research and social science in general either to eschew the word truth or to put it in scare quotes in order to signify scepticism about it. After the initial wave of relativism in the philosophy of natural science, a second wave has developed in social science with the rise of postmodernism and poststructuralism. The tendency here is to relativise truth or to bracket out questions of truth. In contradistinction, this paper revindicates the metaphysical nature (...)
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  • Rom Harré on Social Structure and Social Change: An Introduction.Malcolm Williams & Tim May - 2002 - European Journal of Social Theory 5 (1):107-110.
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  • Roy Bhaskar with Mervyn Hartwig, The Formation of Critical Realism: A Personal Perspective. [REVIEW]Nick Wilson - 2012 - Journal of Critical Realism 11 (2):247-254.
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  • Introducing Islamic Critical Realism: A Philosophy for Underlabouring Contemporary Islam.Matthew L. N. Wilkinson - 2013 - Journal of Critical Realism 12 (4):419-442.
    This article makes the case for a contemporary philosophy of Islam to help Muslims surmount the challenges of postmodernity and to transcend the hiatuses and obstacles that Muslims face in their interaction and relationships with non-Muslims. It argues that the philosophy of critical realism so fittingly underlabours for the contemporary interpretation, clarification and conceptual deepening of Islamic doctrine and practice as to suggest and necessitate the development of a distinctive Islamic critical realist philosophy, social and educational theory and world-view, specifically (...)
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  • Doing ‘Judgemental Rationality’ in Empirical Research: The Importance of Depth-Reflexivity When Researching in Prison.Matthew L. N. Wilkinson, Mallory Schneuwly Purdie, Lamia Irfan & Muzammil Quraishi - 2022 - Journal of Critical Realism 21 (1):25-45.
    ABSTRACT Critical realist thought has theorised convincingly that epistemic relativism is constellationally embedded in ontological realism which in turn necessitates judgemental rationality. In social science, judgemental rationality involves acting upon plausible decisions about competing points of view. However, the tools for doing this are, as yet, under-articulated. This paper addresses this absence by articulating triangulation and depth-reflexivity as two tools for doing judgemental rationality in empirical research. It draws on the experiences of a diverse team working on an international comparative (...)
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  • Contingent Realism—Abandoning Necessity.Malcolm Williams - 2011 - Social Epistemology 25 (1):37-56.
    In recent years, realism?particularly critical realism?has become an important philosophical and methodological foundation for social science. A key feature is that of natural necessity, but this coexists alongside an acceptance of contingency in the social world. I argue in this paper that there cannot be any natural necessity in the social world, but rather the real nature of the social world is that it is contingent. This need not lead to an abandonment of realism, and indeed I argue that a (...)
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  • Aesthetics in a Persecutory Time: Introducing Aesthetic Critical Realism.Nick Wilson - 2020 - Journal of Critical Realism 19 (4):398-414.
    We are living through a time when simplistic notions of good/bad, right/wrong, and us/them, have come to dominate our encounters with each-other and our planet. Against this ‘persecutory’ backdrop,...
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  • Theorizing the Mechanisms of Conceptual and Semiotic Space.Colin Wight - 2004 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 34 (2):283-299.
    In this piece the author takes issue with Mario Bunge’s claims that conceptual and semiotic systems have "compositions, environments and structures, but no mechanisms." Structures, according to Bunge, can never be mechanisms in conceptual and semiotic systems. Contra this the author argues that in social systems, social structures (which are concept-dependent and reproduced and/or transformed, at least in part, semiotically), can be mechanisms in the sense that such structures are one of the processes in a concrete system that makes itwhat (...)
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  • Review Essay : Philosophical Geographies Navigating Philosophy in Social Science.Colin Wight - 1998 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 28 (4):552-566.
  • Person, Subjectivity and Agency – From the Perspective of Critical Realism.Krzysztof Wielecki - 2021 - Journal of Critical Realism 20 (4):368-380.
    The perspective of critical realism in the reflection on a ‘human being' excludes any constructivist or subjectivist concepts of the ‘black hole' of language. This seems essential, in philosophy an...
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  • In Defence of Circularity.N. E. Wetherick - 1978 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 1 (2):205-205.
  • Democracy in Practice? The Norwegian Public Inquiry of the Alexander L. Kielland North-Sea Oil Platform Disaster.Hans-Jørgen Wallin Weihe & Marie Smith-Solbakken - 2021 - Journal of Critical Realism 20 (5):525-541.
    In March 1980, the oil-platform Alexander L. Kielland capsized in the North Sea resulting in the death of 123 workers. The Norwegian inquiry into the disaster was closed to the public and the survi...
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  • Causes, Kinds and Forms.Gerry Webster - 1993 - Acta Biotheoretica 41 (4):275-287.
    Realist philosophies of science posit a dialectical relation between theoretical, explanatory knowledge and practical, including taxonomic knowledge. This paper examines the dialectic between the theory of descent and empirical, Linnaean taxonomy which is based on a logic of traditional classes. It considers the arguments of David Hull to the effect that many of the practical problems of empirical classification can be resolved by means of an ontology based upon the theory of descent in which species taxa are regarded as individuals (...)
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  • Emergence À la Systems Theory: Epistemological Totalausschluss or Ontological Novelty?Poe Yu-ze Wan - 2011 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 41 (2):178-210.
    In this article, I examine Luhmann’s, Bunge’s and others’ views on emergence, and argue that Luhmann’s epistemological construal of emergence in terms of Totalausschluss is both ontologically flawed and detrimental to an appropriate understanding of the distinctive features of social emergence. By contrast, Bunge’s rational emergentism, his CESM model, and Wimsatt’s characterization of emergence as nonaggregativity provide a useful framework to investigate emergence. While researchers in the field of social theory and sociology tend to regard Luhmann as the sole representative (...)
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  • Approaches to Critical Realism: Bhaskar and Lonergan.Timothy Walker - 2017 - Journal of Critical Realism 16 (2):111-127.
    ABSTRACTThe thought of Bernard Lonergan remains relatively unknown among those in the tradition of critical realism associated with Roy Bhaskar. In this paper, I argue that Lonergan’s approach to philosophical questions is both deeply consonant with the thought of Bhaskar and complementary to it. Following a brief overview of different approaches to critical realism, Lonergan’s epistemology is outlined, and parallels drawn with the thought of Bhaskar. The congruence of Lonergan’s philosophy with modern science and its openness to the transcendent are (...)
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  • Elder-Vass on the Causal Power of Social Structures.Tobias Hansson Wahlberg - 2014 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 44 (6):774-791.
    In this review essay, I examine the central tenets of sociologist Dave Elder-Vass’s recent contribution to social ontology, as put forth in his book The Causal Power of Social Structures: Emergence, Structure and Agency. Elder-Vass takes issue with ontological individualists and maintains that social structures exist and have causal powers in their own right. I argue that he fails to establish his main theses: he shows neither that social structures have causal powers “in their own right” (in any sense of (...)
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  • Intentional Explanation and its Place in Psychology.Fred Vollmer - 1986 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 16 (3):285–298.
  • Abuse of Ministerial Authority, Systemic Perjury, and Obstruction of Justice: Corruption in the Shadows of Organizational Practice. [REVIEW]Seraphim Voliotis - 2011 - Journal of Business Ethics 102 (4):537-562.
    Organizational corruption has recently attracted considerable scholarly attention, especially since its devastating effects following recent major corporate scandals, the worldwide economic crisis of 2009, and the current European Union monetary crisis. This paper is based on the analysis of three distinct, yet contextually related, case studies in a European Union member state: (a) an incident of corruption by a minister in an adjudicative role, (b) widespread financial misreporting and perjury within an organization, and (c) abuse of due process and obstruction (...)
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  • Theoretical Philosophy and Philosophy of Science in the Soviet Times: Some Remarks on the Example of Estonia, 1960-1990.Rein Vihalemm - 2015 - Studia Philosophica Estonica 8 (2):195-227.
    Normal 0 21 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 st1:*{behavior:url } This part of the Soviet philosophy that corresponds approximately to theoretical philosophy and philosophy of science on the example of Estonia and proceeding from the University of Tartu is discussed. The author concentrates on the period of approximately 1960–1990, when he himself was engaged in the field, i.e. the time before 1960 is not included. The aim of this paper is not to provide an overview of the individual philosophers in Estonia (...)
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  • Harré and Merleau-Ponty: Beyond the Absent Moving Body in Embodied Social Theory.Charles R. Varela - 1994 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 24 (2):167–185.
  • Elder-Vass's Move and Giddens's Call.Charles Varela - 2007 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 37 (2):201–210.
    David Elder-Vass's “For Emergence: refining Archer's account of social structure,” is the latest of a number of papers which together constitute a family quarrel in the cognitive space After Postmodernism among realist social scientists. In the case under examination here in “Elder-Vass's Move and Giddens's Call”, the concern is the structure and agency problem in the social sciences. The debate continuing in Elder-Vass's paper represents the proponents of the resurrection of Durkheim's social realism under the auspices of Bhaskar's Transcendental Realism; (...)
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  • Conflicting Varieties of Realism: Causal Powers and the Problems of Social Structure.Charles R. Varela & Rom Harré - 1996 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 26 (3):313-325.
    Proponents of the view that social structures are ontologically distinct from the people in whose actions they are immanent have assumed that structures can stand in causal relations to individual practices. Were causality to be no more than Humean concomitance correlations between structure and practices would be unproblematic. But two prominent advocates of the ontological account of structures, Bhaskar and Giddens, have also espoused a powers theory of causality. According to that theory causation is brought about by the activity of (...)
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  • Unanticipated Consequences of “Humanitarian Intervention”: The British Campaign to Abolish the Slave Trade, 1807–1900. [REVIEW]Marcel van der Linden - 2010 - Theory and Society 39 (3-4):281-298.
  • The Nature of Culture. Towards a Realist Phenomenology of Material, Animal and Human Nature.Frederic Vandenberghe - 2003 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 33 (4):461-475.
    In an ironic rejoinder to the postmodern politics of nature, I will adopt an anthropological perspective on culture, which is conspicuous by its absence in the latest wave of science studies, and reformulate the distinction between nature and culture as a reflexive distinction within culture that emerges with modernity. In order to countering the hypertextualism of the constructivists, I will next sketch out a realist theory of nature. Combining the transcendental realism of Roy Bhaskar with the transcendental phenomenology of Edmund (...)
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