In this interview, Ruth Groff discusses how she came to be a realist, her role as a community organizer, her relationship to critical realism, and various issues arising from her published work over the years. Discussion ranges across the nature of positivism and its legacy, the concept of falsehood, realism about causal powers, mind-independent reality, the history of philosophy, and the underlying interest in ideology-critique that runs through her thinking.
Talk of powers is muddled. Building upon Powers and capacities in philosophy: The new aristotelianism, Routledge, London, 2012a, pp 207–227), I disambiguate four senses of the term: powers construed as activity, as capacity/potentiality, as essence and as necessity, respectively, in an attempt to clarify what it is that realists about causal powers take themselves to be realists about.
The concept of the three domains of reality is widely used in empirical critical realist research. However, there has been little scrutiny of how the domains are conceptualized and what they contribute to critical realism and how they should be applied in empirical research. This paper involves four arguments. First, Tom Fryer and Cristián Navarrete argue that the three domains of reality are redundant, confusing, and unsupported by Bhaskar’s theorizing. Second, Dave Elder-Vass argues that the three domains schema embodies a (...) distinction between the actual and the non-actual real. Regardless of whether we call them domains we need to retain this distinction. Third, Tobin Nellhaus argues that there are several reasons to uphold the three domains, but ‘the empirical’ is flawed and must be enfolded within a more encompassing theory. Fourth, Ruth Groff argues that the metaphor of ontological stratification is a problem when readers take it literally, often misconstruing the actual metaphysical content that it is meant to capture. (shrink)
In this lecture I argue that it is not possible for social scientists or others engaged in making causal claims about the world to be neutral with respect to the question of what causation is. One need not be in possession of a full-blown account, but one must know whether or not, in saying that something is the cause of a given outcome, one intends to say that it has actively produced or generated that outcome. Following Brian Ellis, I refer (...) to accounts according to which the answer would be ‘No’ as ‘passivist’. One is free to be a passivist, but it is not possible to be neither a passivist nor an anti-passivist. (shrink)
Wholes, parts, form and powers Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9585-6 Authors Ruth Porter Groff, Department of Political Science, Saint Louis University, 3750 Lindell Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63108-3412, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.