An attempt within social science to argue for the material presence of the social and natural world outside of our knowledge of it. To demonstrate the deeper structures and relations that are not directly observable but lie behind the surface of social reality. Critical Realism is concerned with questions of ontology, and a formulation of an ontology that is capable of describing a world where change is essential. In the words of Baskhar:

"(a) kind of ontology in which the world was seen as structured, differentiated and changing. And science was seen as a process in motion attempting to capture ever deeper and more basic strata of a reality at any moment of time unknown to us and perhaps not even empirically manifest. Structures are changing, differentiated" (from the Baskhar interview on

Critical realism takes up what it sees as the epistemic fallacy, that is where the question of ontology 'what is' is reduced to the question of how we know what is. Bhaskar and company want to reassert the fundamental necessity of ontology and show how even those argumenets pitted against it, presuppose an ontology. Truth is thus concieved as making falliable statements about the real.

In political terms critical realism can be seen as an attempt to remove many of the revolutionary and political aspects from Marx's theory to produce a stale academic scientistic idea of objectivity. This is wrapped up in several woolly and often meaningless references to human emancipation; critique of the illusionary, dualistic world and so on. These allusions to a radical project should be taken with a pinch of salt especially since the idea of ontology it markets is one that has little place for politics.

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