The purpose of this workshop is to provide a basic introduction to the various phases of critical realism – first wave, dialectical, and meta-reality – to those new to it or who otherwise desire a refresher. For people new to IACR meetings, it is also an opportunity to go into the meeting with some acquaintances.

Pre-conference Programme

20 September 2020 12.30 pm- 4.30 pm (SAST)

12:30 – 13:00 Reception (Welcome and introductions) 


13:00 – 14:00
Overview with Johnny Go

In this session we will be discussing the main themes introduced in A Realist Theory of Science which remain fundamental to critical realism. Four essential insights of basic critical realism, based on Bhaskar’s transcendental analysis of sense perception and experimental activity, will be tackled–namely, intransitivity, stratification, open-system causality, and emergence. The critical realist view of the world that emerges from these insights and its implications on knowing will be discussed–particularly, critical realism’s critique of relativism, positivism, determinism, and reductionism.

14:30 – 16:30  
First Wave CR with Doug Porpora

In this session, we will review how critical realism (CR) has typically been applied to the social sciences. We will begin with the positivist, hermeneutic, and post-structuralist approaches and how CR differs. That topic will take us through CR’s “holy trinity” (ontological realism; epistemic relativism; and judgmental rationality); the transitive and intransitive dimensions of analysis; and truth and relativism.

Next, we will talk about the distinctions between structure, culture, and agency and the morphogenetic/morphostatic (M/M) model and CR’s stand on methodological pluralism:

21 September 2020 09.00 am – 16.30 pm (SAST)

9:00 am – 11:00 am
MetaReality with Leigh Price

In this session on metaReality we will begin with a brief overview of the development of critical realism up to metaReality. We will also consider identity and self; transcendental identification, self-realisation and freedom; the axial revolution and modernity; comparative religion and spirituality; how to unfold the enfolded (creativity, learning and education); unconditional love, peace and conflict resolution; ‘unthinking’ and the limits of thought, spontaneous right action and re-enchanting reality. Finally, we will discuss “being being”.

12:30 – 15:30  
Dialectical Critical Realism with Victor Munnik

This session is on Dialectical Critical Realism (DCR) as a development of the dialectical tradition, and as a development of critical realism. DCR is understood as: a way of understanding human being in an historical world; a theory of ethics; and as metacritique of philosophy. The four stages of DCR the first moment of real ontology (1M); the second edge of negativity/ absence (2E); the third level of totality (3L); and the fourth dimension of moral practice (4D) are outlined. Specific topics include:  Absence and human being; four planar being; alethia and morality; ethics and society; metacritique of philosophy from the Greeks to the present, and the role of ontological monovalence (a purely positive worldview).

15:30-15:45 Closing Reception