Lonergan and Bhaskar: The Intelligibility of Experiment

Heythrop Journal 57 (3) (2016)
Abstract
The aim of this paper is to note the convergence between two critical realist philosophies of science, namely, that of Roy Bhaskar and Bernard Lonergan with regard to the intelligibility of experimental activity. Bhaskar very explicitly argues that ‘differentiation implies stratification.’ The idea is that because the situations produced in laboratories are special instances of closure the significance of experimental activity is that it brings about regularities with a view to understanding scientific laws at a deeper level. This is to say, when experiment is properly understood, the weaknesses of empiricism are exposed. Although he is not as explicit, Lonergan also has recourse to this argument. The parallels between Bhaskar and Lonergan are not surprising given the Aristotelian heritage that is manifest in their common concern for a realist ontology. Nevertheless, some differences between the two emerge, for example, in Lonergan's concern with the development of statistical science, and as well, a firm commitment to substance. Some attention to the significance of experimental activity for the debate surrounding realism is explored; it is suggested that Lonergan has something to offer in the subsequent conversation associated with Maxwell, van Fraassen, Hacking and Cartwright
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DOI 10.1111/heyj.12162
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References found in this work BETA
Do We See Through a Microscope?Ian Hacking - 1981 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 62 (4):305-322.
Causality and Determinism.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1971 - Cambridge University Press.
Insight: A Study of Human Understanding.Bernard Lonergan - 1959 - Philosophy 34 (131):373-373.

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