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Critical realism

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-R003-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved May 30, 2020, from

Article Summary

Critical realism is a movement in philosophy and the human sciences starting from Roy Bhaskar’s writings. It claims that causal laws state the tendencies of things grounded in their structures, not invariable conjunctions, which are rare outside experiments. Therefore, positivist accounts of science are wrong, but so is the refusal to explain the human world causally. Critical realism holds that there is more to ‘what is’ than ‘what is known’, more to powers than their use, and more to society than the individuals composing it. It rejects the widespread view that explanation is always neutral – to explain can be to criticize.

Citing this article:
Collier, Andrew. Critical realism, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-R003-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2020 Routledge.

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