Against the Spiritual Turn: Marxism, Realism, and Critical by Sean Creaven

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By Sean Creaven

The argument provided during this booklet is that the new ‘spiritual’ trajectory of Roy Bhaskar’s paintings, upon which he first embarked with the ebook of his From East to West, undermines the basic achievements of his past paintings. the matter with Bhaskar’s new philosophical procedure (Transcendental Dialectical severe Realism or just Meta-Reality), from the critical-realist Marxist standpoint counseled right here, is that it marks either a departure from and a negation of the sooner matters of Bhaskar to advance a realist philosophy of technology and under-labour for an emancipatory materialist socio-historical technology. The end-result is a meta-philosophy that's irrealist, speculative, under-theorized, internally self-contradictory, and which can't supply philosophical assistance to liberatory social practices. towards theist ontological logics extra often (including the much more rational theism offered via Margaret Archer, Andrew Collier and Doug Porpora), the argument of this ebook is that the earth-bound materialist dialectics of the classical Marxist culture, and the naturalistic humanism those dialectics under-labour at the terrain of socio-historical being, provide a way more promising future of serious realist concept and for liberatory politics and ethics.

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24 So Bhaskar’s Promethean super-humanism is ultimately sustained by his idealization or spiritualization of being, which is anchored in his theism or godism. Because we are essentially God or god-like, it follows that in the human world, evil (demi-reality) is necessarily dependent on and subordinate to goodness (non-duality). The essence of humanity, its alethic truth or deep structure, is goodness, whereas the order of the demi-real (structural evil) is the ephemeral and inessential socio-cultural forms under which we bury our essential selves.

I. Title. 4-dc22 2008046755 ISBN13: 978-0-415-49031-3 (hbk) ISBN10: 0-415-49031-6 (hbk) ISBN13: 978-0-203-87843-9 (ebk) ISBN10: 0-203-87843-4 (ebk) This is for my son, Alistair, with love Contents Preface Acknowledgements List of abbreviations Author’s note Introduction 1 Bhaskar’s ‘spiritual turn’: logical and conceptual problems 2 Meta-reality, critical realism and Marxism 3 Secularism, agnosticism and theism 4 Critical realism, Transcendence and God 5 Humanism, spiritualism and critical theory Conclusion Notes Bibliography Index Preface Roy Bhaskar’s critical realism has been in the ascendant in the Western academy in recent decades.

As should be clear, the primary function of this book is not to offer a detailed philosophical outline of what a defensible materialist ontology should consist of at the levels of natural and social being. As noted above, I have attempted this task in previous published work, so there is little purpose in rehashing that project here. Instead, the main task of the current undertaking is less exposition (of ontological materialism) and more critical discussion of the inherent limitations of theistic and idealist philosophical competitors (and agnostic accommodations to them).

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