Re: Activity theory, ontology and critical realism(!?)

From: Matt Brown (
Date: Thu Jun 16 2005 - 22:05:39 PDT

On Jun 14, 2005, at 2:34 PM, Michael JOHNSON wrote:
> Yrjö Engeström quotes Roy Bhasker with approval (p. 10). So does AT
> admit a (critical) realist ontology as asserted in the paper by Jason
> Ferdinand (faculty staff at Liverpool Management School)?

Dear Michael,

Two things:

First, I was a bit taken aback by the suggestion that AT rests on a
critical realist ontology. After searching around on the internet a
bit, I discovered that this is because I completely misunderstood the
term. For me, "Critical realism" refers to a school of American
philosophy started by Roy Wood Sellars, and including George Santayana
and Arthur Lovejoy, among others. Meanwhile, Roy Bhasker is an unknown
to me, and I expect that's partially because he gets no play in
contemporary anglophone philosophy.

Second, while I am admittedly ignorant about dialectical critical
realism and Bhasker (besides an hour or so spent on the internet), and
I'm certainly no kind of expert of AT, my suspicion is that approaches
to mind like SCT and CHAT rest most comfortably in a process ontology,
one of the sort that John Dewey elaborated (in _Experience and Nature_
and elsewhere).


Matt Brown, Philosophy Grad Student  who-is-at  UCSD &
"Democracy cannot flourish where the chief influences in selecting 
subject matter of instruction are utilitarian ends narrowly conceived 
for the masses, and, for the higher education of the few, the 
traditions of a specialized cultivated class." - John Dewey

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri Jul 01 2005 - 01:00:07 PDT