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Reconstructing Bhaskar's Transcendental Analysis of Experimental Activity

Author(s): Dustin McWherter

Journal: Cosmos and History : the Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy
ISSN 1832-9101

Volume: 8;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 199;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Ontology | Causality | Science | Experiment | Critical Realism | Bhaskar

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.

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Tangokurs Rapperswil-Jona

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