The Promises of Critical Realism in the 2020s and beyond

Heikki Patomäki


Positivists have been unsuccessful in finding laws in society and most post-positivists have little to say about causation. Critical Realism (CR) can help to overcome these kinds of aporias of social science by providing better understandings for instance about emergence, open-systemic causation and the role of critical reason in human sciences. However, due to both intrinsic and extrinsic reasons, the promises of CR have been only partially fulfilled. In this paper I argue that CR should be redefined as an open-ended process synthesising scientific realism and critical theories with the purpose of advancing our collective learning and development. Concepts such as emergence, causation and normativity are best understood as open sites of discussions and developments, neither originating nor ending in the philosophy of Roy Bhaskar or anyone else. Thus understood, CR can provide a plausible, rationally evolving framework for politics, political economy and other social sciences.

Słowa kluczowe: critique, emancipation, emergence, law, ontology, open system, rationality, relativism

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