I noticed Bhaskar referenced in a recent article I posted, and decided, given the frequency with which his name pops up in Integral literature -- including Bonnitta Roy's -- that I should take some time to look into it more.  I'll start with an interview of him regarding a post-critical realist (nondual spiritual) philosophy he is developing.  Just based on the first part of it (which is all I have read so far), it appears to repeat Wilber's scheme to a large degree... 

 

The Philosophy of Meta-Reality

 

Here's the introductory text to the interview:

 

In his new book, Reflections on Meta-Reality (RMR), Roy Bhaskar claims to articulate a new philosophy that transcends critical realism, while preserving its insights. And indeed it proceeds by immanent critique of critical realism, thereby extending critical realism’s systematic attempt to think being. With the demise of historical socialism and the rise of bourgeois triumphalism in the late eighties and the nineties, the deficiency, absence or lack Bhaskar has pinpointed in the discourse and practice of critical realism and the Left in general is that insufficient attention is being paid to the spiritual dimension of human life, with the consequence that the Right is hegemonic in that area. So he self-consciously set out to remedy this lack, embarking on ‘the spiritual exposition of being’.


Bhaskar’s previous book, From East to West (FEW), offered ‘a theory of the necessary spiritual presuppositions of emancipatory […] projects’, adding a fifth aspect (5A) to the MELD schema as a further transcendental and dialectical development and deepening of his system, introducing or extending notions of ultimate alethic truth or god at 1M; creativity and transcendence at 2E; love at 3L; spontaneous right-action and cosmic consciousness or enlightenment at 4D; and fulfilled intentionality or self-reflexivity at 5A itself.


RMR both systematises and develops what was initiated in FEW. Its basic line of argument is that a non-dual world or ultimate zone of being underpins and is co-present in an occluded way in the dual world of alienation and contradiction in which we live, as a condition of its possibility, and that this requires a new philosophy of identity for its exposition. Realism about this world, about transcendence, thus entails the self-transcendence of critical realism itself, which is a philosophy of non-identity or duality. Bhaskar calls this non-dual world the cosmic envelope (in which the deepest natures or ground-states of all beings sit and are connected), describing it also as Bohm’s implicate order of pure enfolded being, of pure potentiality, of ‘Platonic anamnesis’, involving ‘a level of consciousness beyond thought itself’. Other key figures, elaborated from FEW, are generalised co-presence or synchronicity and the inwardness of being (everything is implicated or enfolded within everything else); and transcendental identification in consciousness between entities and beings within the explicated or become dual world we inhabit.

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Bhaskar:

 

Indeed dialectical critical realism may be seen under the aspect of Foucaultian strategic reversal – of the unholy trinity of Parmenidean/Platonic/Aristotelean provenance; of the Cartesian-Lockean-Humean-Kantian paradigm, of foundationalisms (in practice, fideistic foundationalisms) and irrationalisms (in practice, capricious exercises of the will-to-power or some other ideologically and/or psycho-somatically buried source) new and old alike; of the primordial failing of western philosophy, ontological monovalence, and its close ally, the epistemic fallacy with its ontic dual; of the analytic problematic laid down by Plato, which Hegel served only to replicate in his actualist monovalent analytic reinstatement in transfigurative reconciling dialectical connection, while in his hubristic claims for absolute idealism he inaugurated the Comtean, Kierkegaardian and Nietzschean eclipses of reason, replicating the fundament of positivism through its transmutation route to the super-idealism of a Baudrillard."

Lovely prose, eh? In any case, I remember reading Bhaskar in the 90's, with moderate interest, but found his prose too much trouble to deal with. This was when he was in his "dialectical"phase. I'm not entirely surprised by his recent turn to the "spiritual." Even during his dialectical phase, there was something about what he was trying to say that sounded familiar.

I'm looking at his book From East to West right now. I'll get back with some comments later. I have a hunch where he's gonna go with this, and upon reading the opening sentence, I think my hunch is turning out to be correct. Here is how he opens the Preface:

The essential thesis of this book is that man is essentially God...; and that as such he is essentially free and already en-lightened, a freedom and enlightenment that is overlain by extraneous, heteronomous determinations which both a)occlude and b)qualify this essential fact. To reclaim and realize his essential freedom, man has to shed both the illusion that he is not essentially Godlike and free and the heteronomous determinations (constituting an objective world of illusion, duality and alienation) which that illusion grounds.

Sound familiar? Well it should, since it is basically a restatement of the basic philosophy and soteriology of Advaita Vedanta.  All the pieces are there: the essential identity (tadatmya) or non-difference (abheda) of the soul (jiva) and God (Parameshvara); the always-already (nitya) enlightened (buddha) and free (mukta) nation of the soul; the occlusion and covering over (avarana) of this identity by "extraneous heteronomous (vaisheshya) determinations" or what Shankara refers to as "limiting adjuncts" (upadhi); and the illusion (maya) or confusion (mudha) that prevents man from realizing this essential freedom (moksha) and identity.

It sounds like Bhaskar has converted the position of Shankara.
Here's another link, from which I drew the quote. I think some of his colleagues on the Left are feeling a bit betrayed.
Well, not much of the book is available from Google. One thing of interest:  on page 43 he says, "The proof of God's existence is both experiential and practical." So we're back to mystical empiricism again.

abscond namedropping worse than uncle Jacques.

hahhahhahah

 

what about: unveiling the Freudian, Althusserian, Deleuzian/Guattarian rhizomatic "raison d´être" and its proliferation and dissemination of "points de capitan" at the junction of the symbolic order enabling an escape from the abyssal castration of the Real.

 

hahhahahha



kelamuni said:

Bhaskar:

 

Indeed dialectical critical realism may be seen under the aspect of Foucaultian strategic reversal – of the unholy trinity of Parmenidean/Platonic/Aristotelean provenance; of the Cartesian-Lockean-Humean-Kantian paradigm, of foundationalisms (in practice, fideistic foundationalisms) and irrationalisms (in practice, capricious exercises of the will-to-power or some other ideologically and/or psycho-somatically buried source) new and old alike; of the primordial failing of western philosophy, ontological monovalence, and its close ally, the epistemic fallacy with its ontic dual; of the analytic problematic laid down by Plato, which Hegel served only to replicate in his actualist monovalent analytic reinstatement in transfigurative reconciling dialectical connection, while in his hubristic claims for absolute idealism he inaugurated the Comtean, Kierkegaardian and Nietzschean eclipses of reason, replicating the fundament of positivism through its transmutation route to the super-idealism of a Baudrillard."

Hey there... It's Bonnie. Nice to see you are talking Bhaskar. My project on the search for context-transcendent meaning led me to Bhaskar, and I have gobbled his work up in a frenzy over the past couple of months, leading up to a most synchronous invitation to participate in this

 

http://www.integralresearchcenter.org/node/49229

 

where Bhaskar will be there to present his Meta-Reality and Integral People will present AQAL, and people like me (unaligned) will be there as meta-theoreticians ... so maybe I can blog a bit about it to this site during the symposium.

 

Hope everyone is doing well...

 

Bests all around,

 

Bonnie

... so maybe I can blog a bit about it to this site during the symposium.

 

That would be excellent and most welcome, Bonnie, if you have the energy and interest to do so.

 

Best wishes,

 

Bruce

Bonnie, if you have time, I'd love to hear your report on the Integral Research Center event with Bhaskar.
Recall that Bryant makes ample use of Bhaskar in the opening chapter of his book referenced in the OOO thread.
Yes, this is one reason why I was interested in hearing a report.  Because it seems that, while Bhaskar's work in critical realism might have been relatively aligned with the OOO project, he has since made a sharp right turn with his meta-Reality...

hey everyone,

i started a comment, and then i lost it.

i will try to work on something comprehensive over the next couple of days...

looking forward to contributing what I took away from the symposium

 

b

 

True, Bryant uses some of his older work, like A Realist Theory of Science (New York: Routledge, 1998) and The Possibility of Naturalism (New York: Routledge, 1998). It might be interesting to see what Bryant thinks of this turn in the latest work.

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