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'''Ram Roy Bhaskar''' (born May 15, 1944) is a British philosopher, best known as the originator of the philosophical movement of Critical Realism.

Early life

Bhaskar was born in London, the elder of two brothers. His Indian father and English mother were Theosophists.

In 1963 Bhaskar went up to Balliol College, Oxford on a scholarship to read Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Having graduated with first class honours in 1966, he began work on a Ph.D. thesis about the relevance of economic theory for under-developed countries. This research led him to the philosophy of social science and then the philosophy of science. In the course of this Rom Harré became his supervisor.

Critical realism

Bhaskar's consideration of the philosophies of science and social science resulted in the development of Critical Realism, an ontological and emancipatory body of thought that aspires to move beyond The Enlightenment to a new Eudaimonian Enlightenment, avoiding irrationalism and reductionist rationalism through historical self-awareness and dialectic. To achieve this, it draws on pre-modern dialectical and spiritual traditions as well as on positive aspects of The Enlightenment: its commitment to scientific inquiry and to freedom.

The term Critical Realism was not initially used by Bhaskar, who instead developed bodies of work on what he called ''Transcendental Realism'' in the philosophy of science, and on ''Critical Naturalism'' to extend that body of work into the social sciences. The term Critical Realism is an elision of Transcendental Realism and Critical Naturalism, that has been subsequently accepted by Bhaksar after being proposed by others. Critical Realism, thus understood, therefore includes Bhaskar's work on both the philosophy of science and social science and also his work on dialectic, social emancipation and the history of philosophy.

Career

Bhaskar, who lectures internationally, has taught at the Universities of Edinburgh, Oxford, Sussex and City University, London. Since 1995 he has worked full-time on the Centre for Critical Realism and the International Association of Critical Realism.

In 2000, Bhaskar published ''From East to West: The Odyssey of a Soul'', in which he first expressed ideas related to spiritual values that came to be seen as the beginning of his so-called spiritual turn. This was initially very controversial, but has since won growing support after the publication in 2002 of his books on the radical development of critical realism which he called ''the philosophy of meta-reality'', when he made it clear that this latest phase of his thought applied to people of all faiths and no faith, i.e. was susceptible to a purely secular interpretation.

What he refers to as Meta-Reality, however may be seen as a different philosophy altogether. In his ''Reflections on Meta-Reality'', he states:

<blockquote>This book articulates the difference between critical realism in its development and a new philosophical standpoint which I am in the process of developing, which I have called the philosophy of Meta-Reality.</blockquote>

The main departure, it seems, is an emphasis on the shift away from Western dualism to a non-dual model in which emancipation entails "a breakdown, an overcoming, of the duality and separateness between things."

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References

  • Archer, M. et. al 1998, "Critical Realism: Essential Readings," London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-19632-9
  • Bhaskar, R.A., 1997 [1975], "A Realist Theory of Science," London: Version. ISBN 1-85984-103-1
  • Bhaskar, R.A., 1998 [1979], ''The Possibility of Naturalism'' (3rd edition), London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-19874-7
  • Bhaskar, R.A., 1989, ''Reclaiming Reality: A Critical Introduction to Contemporary Philosophy'', London: Verso. ISBN 0-86091-951-X
  • Bhaskar, R.A., 2002, ''Reflections On Meta-Reality: A Philosophy for the Present'', New Delhi: Sage. ISBN 0-7619-9691-5
  • Bhaskar, R.A., 1993, ''Dialectic: The Pulse of Freedom'', London: Verso. ISBN 0-86091-583-2
  • Bhaskar, R.A., 1994, ''Plato, etc: The Problems of Philosophy and Their Resolution'', London: Verso. ISBN 0-86091-649-9
  • Collier, A., 1994, ''Critical Realism: An Introduction to Roy Bhaskar's Philosophy'', London: Verso. ISBN 0-86091-602-2

Bhaskar, Roy
Bhaskar, Roy
Bhaskar, Roy
Bhaskar, Roy