Reconstructing Bhaskar's Transcendental Analysis of Experimental Activity

Cosmos and History 8 (1):199-226 (2012)
Abstract
In this essay I attempt a thorough reconstruction and modification of Roy Bhaskar's "transcendental analysis of experimental activity" to show that this analysis contains a powerful critique of regularity theories of causal laws and a strong case for a transcendental realist, powers-based theory of causal laws. Despite the short and scattered places in which this analysis occurs in Bhaskar's texts, my reconstruction synthesizes these textual resources to formulate a unified analysis of experimentation that derives three distinct conclusions from four presuppositions and a complex of transcendental arguments. These conclusions are: 1) Extra-experimental reality is, to a significant extent, an open system, 2) Causal laws must be distinguished from constant conjunctions of events, and 3) Causal laws are the transcendentally real tendencies of generative mechanisms
Keywords Critical Realism  Science  Experiment  Causality  Bhaskar  Ontology
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