Searching for Dialectics & Realisms

Reading Group Subject

The nominal subject of the Dialectics-Realisms Reading Group [DRRG] is ‘Searching for Realisms & Dialectics’.

The Reading Group’s Focus is….

·       Dialectics and Realisms

·       Dialectical Realisms

·       Dialectics’ Realisms

·       Dialectical Critical Realism Appraisals

Introduction to DRRG

The simplest estimate of the literal meaning of the ancient Greek term, and gross definition of Dialectic, I know is – ‘working things out through oppositional speech’. The understanding is not that we humans are clumsy speakers who trip-up as we speak, but that in first instances at least, we experience the world as if it is overly complicated [too complex] for straight-forward explication.

When we need to give a simple account and communicate straight forward explanations of how life really is, we find there is no sufficient-enough-explanation for the truth of life in all its fullness. We therefore need to use concepts as if they are often difficult to separate out one from the other. It is as if we can best do this by turning our rudimentary speech into an art-form through using figures of speech (tropes) capturing opposition-ality.

Apparently there is such a thing as Hyletics; the study of matter or raw impressions of intentional acts which exposes abstractions from the Real-Form, and thus is really ambiguous. An amphibole [ambiguity itself] !!

Most of us are overly familiar with our human existence comprising the polarity of dualisms. These dualities take the form of; truth and justice, or, in-flexibility of our social institutions versus our cultures’ fashions. As a consequence we experience our minds producing dialectics [arguments] as logics of opposition. One example of this is referred to as the 2-hands-approach when describing problems. We say… ‘on the one hand… and, yet on the other hand…’, there is an equally viable possibility.

Thus we can all too readily opine life is an existential crisis where it is impossible to know what is substantively ‘Real’. What is genesis or non-genesis [derivation]. What is true or only half-true. We see double-binds sublating our sense of Social Realism. Especially for example when we as persons, are committed to both Private [inner] and Public [outer] aspects of our identity.

In as much as we are parts of mobs and groups… community and communitarian-ism… as domains of social systems, we maintain ongoing relationships and membership to society and both [subjective & objective] sides of social reality. The citizen never realises full identity with the city and the group never proscribes the full identity of the individual.

Dialectics is a convenient way of conceptualising how orthogonal co-active entities; relate, dynamically blend, morph with and into one another, even though they come from different sources and seemingly have independent natures. How various aspects of our social reality seem ‘more Real’ and others ‘less Real’. How some aspects of our social existence seem more Real on some occasions and less Real on other occasions.

As a consequence the purpose of this reading group is to search for relations [intersects] between the Sets of; Dialectic [argument] and Realism [empiricism]. The assumption is… determining what is ‘Real’ or just ‘Actual’… is a complex activity and requires the use of [2-hands] Dialectics.

Our function is to contemplate how the meaning of the term dialectic has varied from pre-Marx to post-Marx times and ranged from use in Analytic to Post-Modern philosophies. Through reading and discussing we will create discourse for better understanding this dilemma and how the terms have been used throughout history and how they are still being tossed about today.

Objectives regarding DCR

One of the objectives of the reading group is to appraise Bhaskar’s Dialectic Critical Realism [DCR] approach in respect of more traditional references to dialectic and how we might factor Realism as Actual and Imaginal reckonings; in fact how empiricism applies – if at all. In doing so, we recognise the very real issue of traversing the chasm between the sciences and arts as traditional approaches as compleat problem-solving methods.

Reading Group Session Topics & Main Texts

Developing the Group’s Reading Schedule is a work-in-progress. Session facilitators will feed off suggestions from the group as to what next to pay attention to.

The following is a tentative list and the schedule is to be treated as flexible.

Group members are encouraged to source suitable; texts, chapters, articles.

Whence Cometh Dialectics?

·       Resources

·       Plato – Dialogue

·       St Paul –Book of Romans, etc

·       Hegel – Sublation

·       Bhaskar – Absence

·       TBA

Dialectics as Logics

·       Hegel & Sublation

·       Dualism Remediation [Kant Faculties]

Dialectics as Identity

·       Hegel – ‘Not this or this’ – negatite`

Dialectics as History

·       Utopia – Frederick Jameson

Dialectic as Absence

·       Intro to Bhaskar DCR – ‘Enlightened Commonsense’ + ‘Plato Etc.’

‘Science’ of the Real as per DCR

·       DCR as meldara

Dialectics as Social Science

·       Margaret Archer – M+M Morphogenesis


·       Dialectic Materialism

New Realism

·       Graham Harman

·       Movie – ‘The Party’ re Gramsci

Extra Curriculum Activities

Options for other activities include


·       ‘The Party’ in respect to Gramsci