m of care – dec 8

on roy bhaskar‘s enlightened common sense part 2


“One of the most influential voices in the philosophy of science and a political revolutionary”
David Graeber

In this second meeting of the Bhaskar reading group, we will discuss chapter 2 of Enlightened Common Sense. You can access the text here.

more here:

Reading Group on Bhaskar @museumofcare 

Join for session 2.

Quick summary of session 1 in comments https://t.co/iMWVMmjVHe

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/avi_khalil/status/1600667719682396162


Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/avi_khalil/status/1600668157361807362

above made by avi


notes/quotes from meeting (via avi):

max: i feel he’s trying to untangle something that is tangling me

avi in chat [on a side note, this is a good video on emergence of higher level phenomenon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4yzK-8OGtc]

john m: been reading david’s anthro theory of value and radical alterity

theory of value.. david on radical alterity?

avi: something about animism that’s really cool in this chapter

max: to sid.. constant conjunctures.. causal laws.. the world being unstructuring, unchanging.. what aobu theses laws is restricting..

sid: a particular way of understanding world.. extreme positivism,.. world is just stream of events.. can’t really predict anything.. might as well scratch nail as blow up the world.. if everything random.. sequence of events.. bhaskar said.. is he serious.. he doubts hume actually believes what he is saying.. that’s his problem with hume.. positive just looks at events you can see.. that’s all that’s real.. then try to develop laws around irregularity of it.. (but) as human beings always interpreting and interfering with what is happening.. critical approach is recognizing that we need to change.. that things can change.. so it’s critical of those things you’re observing..

michael: ie of that in computer sci.. collecting data and predicting using data.. so if talk about data and not underlying theory.. get to .. if situation diff would you get diff data..

esp if believe (as i do) that all data to date is non legit.. like from whales in sea world

max: absence of theory doesn’t mean you don’t have a theory.. just not recognizing it

julia in chat [what must the world be like for my theories to be correct (anti-Kantian)]

nick: on david in theory of value on bhaskar.. 1\ 2\ 3\ degrees of freedom.. 4\ distinction between closed/open system .. 5\ bhaskar trying to .. what has to be case for this to be possible.. why do we need to construct experiments.. means isolating from wider context…. does tell us something about the world.. make those causal relationships perceivable.. open system so many other factors at play.. what happens when we close of human systems.. how does behavior become more predictable.. what are conditions fore creating open human systems

nick in chat [Anthropological Theory of value, Page: 52-53.. The five points: Realism, Potentiality, Freedom, Open Systems, Tendencies (instead of laws)]

yeah.. i don’t think so.. that’s like data from sea world.. so that we have no idea what legit free people are like

i don’t think you can compare.. and/or switch back/forth between open/closed systems..

steve from from m of care – aug 18 – reading group for david graeber and david wengrow‘s dawn of everything:

a social theory of action where surprises/unpredictability are the basis of humanity – paraphrasing david graeber  et al

at 50 min –  it admits what a lot of policy makers and economists don’t want to admit and that is that their predictions really at bottom aren’t any better than anyone else’s statistically speaking.. that’s not to say sci doesn’t have a value.. but that if we think of an epistemology built around a social theory of action where surprises/unpredictability are the basis of humanity.. then it means *we really need to be looking for constant surprise in addition to the predictability that science does offer.. because yes.. science does offer predictability

john m in chat [closed human system makes me think about the idea of the monastic self that david wrote about. separate, ideal individual separate from the world]

yeah.. beyond the monastic self ness.. to me.. if try to do closed systems.. no longer doing/being organism as fractal (people are no longer alive/free.. more like whales in sea world).. so no longer legit ie.. (that’s why you can predict.. prediction as a big red flag]

julia: idea of an open system is that it’s not reductive.. where does our human agency come into this

yeah.. that’s huge

‘idea of an open system is that it’s not reductive’ .. so to me.. hard to see closed systems as helpful in figuring out what legit free people are like

sid in chat [‘idea of an open system is that it’s not reductive’ .. so to me.. hard to see closed systems as helpful in figuring out what legit free people are like]

julia: i think uni is an open system.. because it’s changing.. uni is a social function that emerges from those 3 strata.. i don’t know the boundaries

oi.. just changing doesn’t mean it’s open..

avi in chat [side note: open reciprocities express themselves in different ways (not always great) e.g. open access areas versus commons dependent on other kinds of open or closedness (i dislike concept of system as it has colonized everything, as Illich put it and ignores agency and relationships) bla bla bla]

sid: i think systems thinking is helpful.. systems thinking is that everything is connected.. but we can’t deal with everything being connected.. so what we do is we draw a boundary.. often boundary is around a particular purpose.. ie: for uni.. teaching, research.. but what about parents, students, cousins of students.. so critical thinking says.. where is our boundary.. then can do thinking on what looks like an open system but isn’t

siddiqi border law..

nick in chat [I think we need to see “open” vs “closed” not as absolute distinctions, but as relative to particular levels of being. For Graeber, I think, “freedom” is the capacity to move between open and closed systems: i.e., to have the ability to make promises (commitments) and remake social relations, and the ability to break those promises]

julia: there are slippage in the terms.. in my book.. i use capital letters to show the real.. true.. trying to keep in mind there is a tech and empirical sense..

nick in chat [And @monika, I think the question of how all this relates to decolonizing thought is very important. This is, ultimately, what I think is at stake in the debate with De Castro, its about the meaning of decolonizing thought]

avi: what i don’t get from bhaskar .. to play devil’s advocate.. can’t put

nick: it’s not that anal gets you nothing.. there’s always this humiliation to the real

would we have this problem if we let go of thinking we have to know/predict things.. (would legit free people care about that?)

sid: summary of bhaskar in one of my books: the things we see (empirical) .. things we might not see (actual) and below that is the real.. with that in mind ‘we can characterize science as retroduction .. in contrast to induction/deduction.. where we take some unexplained phenom.. to tell if we can explain what is happening.. ie: if these existed.. this would happen.. we move from experience in empirical to possible structures in actual

nick in chat [@monika, it kind of depends what we mean know/predict. It seems to me that Graeber — I don’t know about Bhaskar — thinks there are many ways to know and predict things that don’t look like what we think of as “science.” But also, we have the capacity to comprehend them, even to put these different ways of knowing into conversation.]

yeah.. idk.. i think that’s what we think.. because we’re so used to thinking about things.. from engrained supposed to’s of school/work et al.. i think once we think we know/predict.. we’ve also killed.. so no longer legit

graeber unpredictability/surprise law.. et al









notes from ch2:


2 – transcendental realism and the philosophy of modern science

[just skimmed it]




from roy bhaskar

enlightened common sense:

m of care – nov 8 – part 1

m of care – dec 8 – part 2

m of care – jan 12 – part 3

m of care – feb 8 (2) – part 4



museum of care meetings

museum of care