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Critical Realism: some responses


I would like to thank the editors for giving me the opportunity to respond to some of the criticisms raised in the forum on Critical Realism, or what is sometimes known as scientific realism (CR/SR). In this short response I shall attempt to correct some of the misunderstandings of Critical Realism in the forum, but also highlight a fundamental philosophical disagreement that has important political consequences.

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1 Weber Martin, ‘Ontologies, depth, and otherwise: Critical Notes on Wight's meta-theoretical proposal of a scientific IR’, Review of International Studies, 38:1 (2012).

2 Wight Colin, Agents, Structures and International Relations: Politics as Ontology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), p. 298.

3 Wight, Agents, pp. 51–61.

4 Kessler Oliver, ‘On logic, intersubjectivity, and meaning: is reality an assumption we just don't need?’, Review of International Studies, 38:1 (2012).

5 Michel Torsten, ‘In Heidegger's Shadow: a phenomenological critique of Critical Realism’, Review of International Studies, 38:1 (2012).

6 Stepanich Lambert V., ‘Heidegger: “Between Idealism and Realism”’, The Harvard Review of Philosophy (Spring 1991), pp. 20–8.

7 Husserl Edmund, Psychological and Transcendental Phenomenology and the Confrontation with Heidegger (1927–1931), trans. Sheehan T. and Palmer R. (Dordrecht: Kluwer 1997).

8 Michel's attempts to make a lot of the supposed CR commitment to the subject/object split. Let me just make my position clear, a position I think, Heidegger would endorse; all consciousness is consciousness of something, that there is no consciousness, as such, cut off from an object.

9 Wight, Agents, p. 37.

10 Wight, Agents, pp. 25–6.

11 Arfi Badredine, Khôra as the condition of possibility of the ontological without ontology’ Review of International Studies, 38:1 (2012).

12 Derrida Jacques, Afterword: Toward an Ethic of Discussion (Limited Inc. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press 1988a), pp. 111–60.

13 Wight, Agents, pp. 226–54.

14 Wight, Agents, p. 18.

15 There is also a sense that these Young Hegelians are somewhat behind the curve in terms of where the social sciences are heading and there is a distinct move towards a new materialism see, for example, Cool Diane, and Frost Samantha (eds), New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010).

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Review of International Studies
  • ISSN: 0260-2105
  • EISSN: 1469-9044
  • URL: /core/journals/review-of-international-studies
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