m of care – mar 9

Part 5. Roy Bhaskar’s Enlightened Common Sense and From Science to Emancipation – Reading Group


This session will be focused on chapter 3. It will be the third and final discussion of chapter 3 where we will synthesize our thoughts and discoveries on Bhaskar’s views on social science.

on roy bhaskar‘s enlightened common sense part 5

notes/quotes from 70 min video:

john mokry (hosting the bhaskar series): summarizing ch 3 – bhaskar’s take on social theory.. ch 2 – philosophy of sci.. building on top of that.. is it possible to apply phil of sci to social/psych.. his philosop of sci: binary between language/symbols based pessimistic and other positivism finding concrete truths about world using experimentation.. build theories off that.. bhaskar says they both have foundation in positivism.. that’s the foundation i took to be the main pillars of his views of sci.. question for this ch is whether this philsoph can be foundation for social sciences.. so ch presents a series of dualisms that have been built in soc sci.. he tries to collapse the opposition between each one of them.. for me.. he addresses the resolution 1\ tmsa.. instead of structure/agency wedded together in repeating cycle .. not one direction or other.. 2\ 4 planer social being.. what a person is and how they engage in the world.. i see ch as trying to synthesize these two ways and create a new way of looking at soc sce

5 min – john: brings to 2nd part of ch.. very complex.. places a very big priority on social parts of soc sciences.. ie: personalism.. inside transformation model.. binaries.. there is a person who has their will/intention/reasoning that does influence the world.. structure dependent on persons but persons have to use structure to act in the world.. but somehow a lot of agency/freedom w/in persons..

7 min – john: another thing he mentions at end of ch.. so much of soc theory is almost sterile/sci/fatalistic.. but for anything to happen in society needs to be a lot of connection/love.. in soc theory there’s a lot of separation and analysis trying to connect things.. but he’s talking about this underlying thing holding everything together.. ‘evil cannot exist in itself.. needs to be a contained that is a positive force against evil’.. reminded me of david’s concept of baseline communism.. underneath everything is this connection of people.. t. if everything evil/dark can’t extract value from it.. overtime.. people extracting and spending it all..

thurman interconnectedness lawwhen you understand interconnectedness it makes you more afraid of hating than of dying – Robert Thurman 

9 min – shambhavi: on not being able to get thru text.. but talking to john’s comments.. on therapy between people and systems w/in those times.. can think of person, cell, plant, seed, .. a process occurs.. so sci is then perceived in a lot of diff ways.. diff methods trying to be defined.. essentially in stead of trying to look at individuals try to look at phenom that occur .. interaction between agent/individual.. and how goes about behaving along side environ.. whenever i think about david’s work.. i think basic work that underlies all of his work is freedom.. so of freedom in sci.. then agent has ability to move about and affect system and be affected by system.. so all change.. the ability for agent to make choices from a lot of different various complex options.. therein lies your freedom.. t.. so then trying to max some sort of gains.. in phys sci trying to max entropy.. or in soc systems trying to max freedom

(to me) that’s where we keep missing it.. to me.. that’s not freedom.. that’s settling (voluntary compliance) for a finite set of choices

need: curiosity over decision making


13 min – shambhavi: 2nd thing i wanted to say.. a lot of times in world you go about making observations.. this process of observation is complex.. understanding/observing/perceiving/translating.. the sci method does not cover that at all.. there is a lot of loss w/in there about what actually happens and what you report.. i don’t think at any point sci would be able to observe/explain.. but maybe it is a tool.. but process is to complex.. almost becomes absurd to try to explain

graeber can’t know law .. et al

yeah.. so perhaps we quit spending our time/energy on trying to explain things.. not sure if legit free people would care to

16 min – nika: john explaining ‘agent affect structure’.. what did bhaskar mean by that.. because that is probably actually freedom.. if you can change the world around you somehow.. if anybody can explain

17 min – john: quoting about how in human history social has tended to dominate the personal.. all kinds of mechs to reduce flourishing ets.. then para (end of section 1 of 3.5) ‘The sense in which critical realism may be said to entail personalism is thus the sense in which the only efficient cause in the social world is human agency.’.. and personalism is a very general outlook where philosophy toward individual .. he then goes on ‘Everything that happens in the social world happens in virtue of human agency, that is, the actions of human beings. Or to put it another way, human beings are the only moving forces in geo-history. It is in this sense that critical realism implies personalism.‘.. so yeah.. that’s i don’t know spinoza well enough to know if it’s that part of that concept.. to connect this to what shambhavi said.. some things incalculable.. and what is happening there.. positivism might say.. .. if do enough experiments then can calc all the diff parts of it.. but here i feel like bhaskar is saying.. no there’s something else.. like an actual thing that’s there and that is like a drive to freedom/flourishing..

20 min – michael: he’s literally got a whole paragraph at the end.. (pg 71.. the drive to freedom) ‘(vii) The drive to freedom..I have argued that the desire to be free, to be self-determining, and to absent constraints on our freedom constitutes a basic mechanism, applicable both to the life of a person and to her community. The drive to freedom necessitates of course commensurate solidarity‘ so really has a theory of freedom that somehow there’s types of structures.. not just freedom to change things.. to be in charge.. to tell others what to do.. freedom is much more of a claim.. ‘(love and awareness of the co-presence of others as part of oneself ), and entails a drive to self-realisation and ultimately the free flourishing of all.This drive connects our desire to be free with our dependence on the desires of others to be similarly free (through the logic of dialectical universalisability);..t so that our human predicament may be seen as involving our harnessing of our dependence on others in ways that enable them to fulfil their goals in universal free flourishing.’.. freedom a very overused word in society ‘freedom to do what i want’.. et al.. so nika.. say your question again

‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows


1\ undisturbed ecosystem (common\ing) can happen

2\ if we create a way to ground the chaos of 8b legit free people

22 min – nika: how can we affect the world.. since john said bhaskar says we can affect the world.. change reality.. that’s probably why david has this big bookcase full of magic books.. because magic is very opposite of positivism.. it’s actually belief that we can affect the world.. we can have magic words.. we can tell them.. and then things will change.. t

i believe we can.. esp today.. but i don’t think it will come thru words.. ie: graeber model law (graeber revolution law): ‘you’ll never ever be able to convince a person thru logical argument or even brilliant rhetoric that a free and just society is possible..  you can show them.. you can start doing it‘ – David Graeber

nika: if we don’t believe in magic.. how would it exactly look like that we are affecting the world..t

huge huge huge

i think a big part of why we haven’t yet truly affected the world.. is that the part\ial ness we keep trying and the out of sync ness it perpetuates is keeping us stuck

humanity needs a leap.. to get back/to simultaneous spontaneity .. simultaneous fittingness.. everyone in sync..

23 min – john: i love how bhaskar.. his last section is called ‘a research program for esoteric sociology’.. because a lot of times like.. there might be this division between scientists and poets.. and poets deal w things that are hard to see.. but that’s what being a human is..t things hard to be concrete and show.. esp in competitive/war world.. that careful/caring aspect of humanity.. is .. i feel like bhaskar tried to give voice to that foundation

the little prince – see with your heart ness

need 1st/most: means to undo our hierarchical listening to self/others/nature to detox us..

ie: tech as it could be

24 min – shambhavi: to john on human beings affecting world thru very subtle/caring ways.. i think a lot of times traditionals in society perceive acts of care.. of not acting in traditionally loud ways.. behaviors exhibited by military power.. i read book ‘equal rights’ talks about old wizard passing on magic.. then turned out to be a girl.. very powerful.. at end.. girl creates new form of magic.. more powerful than magic that existed before.. which emerged from having power but choosing not to use it in order to not dominate the world.. on affecting world in subtle ways.. make it more homely/protective/caring environ.. you can affect world in a lot of diff ways.. billionaires, .. i think there’s a lot of nature out there affecting world as well.. not just human agency.. really interconnected web..

29 min – mark: on angela davis speech – that there has been progress.. pointing out that gender movements had succeeded.. younger people just don’t think it’s an issue.. that there isn’t a perspective of gender.. that was an affect of people on overall population.. some might consider it minor.. but she pointed it out and she’s usually interested in much more radical changes.. but she said that was positive..

binary ness et al

31 min – michael: the diff between the personal and the social.. where is that in the text.. how do you distinguish them.. t i imagine the interactions of various people comes to impose upon you.. social contract theory.. et al.. so idea of building social relationship that enable.. so where would we find in the text.. the personal and social

brown belonging lawthe opposite of belonging.. is fitting in.. true belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are.. it requires you to be who you are.. and that’s vulnerable.. –Brené Brown

tthe it is me.. but i’m never just me.. beyond the monastic self et al

33 min – mark – bottom p 68 to top 69 is what i think john is referring to.. 3.5 section one.. the asymmetry

34 min – patricia (oakland ca): doing phd on graeber.. so will see me a lot

36 min – john: how people communicate.. share views.. empathy.. parts coming in a couple months.. excited about that.. i think he develops this relationship between personal to social 2nd 1/2 of 3.4 thru 3.5 .. so there’s a lot of it.. lots of diverse parts.. my view is there’s structure preceding the person.. they operate based on their motivation (bottom survival.. top flourishing ).. depending on where they are in that.. they reproduce the structure.. so some intentional.. most isn’t

38 min – michael wanted to talk about a diagram.. 3.4

39 min – john: i can describe it in words.. it’s like every single concept you’ve every heard related to human action all on same page w arrows connecting them all

40 min – nika: reading from chart – ‘consequences/conditions of actions.. causal powers’

(to me) none of that is freedom.. has to be sans any form of m\a\p or we’re just reacting/preventing.. et al

41 min – john: i can read a little that structures parts of this.. this is in a section on the formation of action and agency (p 64): ‘The formation of action and of agency.. Characteristically intentional human action has been seen by philosophers as dependent upon beliefs and desires, with the beliefs typically informing the desires, so that together they characteristically form a want, which defines the intended outcome of the action, that is, our intentionality in performing it ceteris paribus makes it happen. A more general account of the immediate, formative components of action would identify five kinds of component or basis involved in any action. We might enumerate these as the cognitive and conative components familiar from the traditional model, together with affective, expressive and performative components. Then again one might want to single out values and differentiate competences, facilities (access to resources) and opportunities as sub-components of the performative basis of action. In general, each component is necessary for action; and each component is learnt, formed, developed.Together these components form a matrix of the sub- jective sources of action, as displayed in Figure 3.4.42‘.. so this is like electron microscopye zoomed in view of how he’s sees everything together..

43 min – michael: i’m trying to think.. you can imagine diff people have diff frameworks and all have something here.. ie: performative domain.. moral imagination.. or does everybody have that ability.. then ie: values.. incentives.. wants.. to have belief and want and act.. so does that suggest people have agency.. or based on beliefs.. then to knowledge and access to knowledge.. actually doing something.. other part about who someone is.. ie: people have a lot of competencies.. but not a to ie: working in a group.. what in relationship do these various circles..

47 min – mark: it’s strange that he says the physiological changes of action are coming from the consequences of action.. i don’t know if that’s causal

john: i wonder if that is a call to the survival drive? always trying to keep you alive/move.. so primary/foundational.. ? i don’t know

to 53 min – (people trying to decipher the diagram)

nika: looks to me something like an art project.. but actually quite bold.. not so simple as marx.. et al.. it’s some kind of complicated art.. i much more belief in those pics of marx.. w 2-3 arrows..

54 min – michael: his theory of human nature.. general ego.. bounded on relations of trust.. can’t have a solid ego unless relations of trust.. i don’t think that’s how most think about it.. but i think.. about a small child and you can’t be successful unless relationship w mother/environ/fam.. relations of trust founded on being helped by other people..

trust ness and pearson unconditional law et al

55 min – john: tying that into last section.. because of time.. there’s this way we look at world.. soc-sci/actualism.. do experiments.. get facts.. create world from view of facts.. but facts gathered in a closed system.. so we have this sterile/separated understanding of the world and that becomes what we view individuals as .. t

huge.. black science of people/whales law.. and hari rat park law et al

57 min – john: and the individual’s have an underlying model of a human being.. ego/possessive.. counts for philosophy of individualism we have.. reading from 3.6 p 73 ‘Individualism is deeply embedded in the philosophical discourse of modernity, which pivots on an atomistic egocentricity and an abstract universality. The Cartesian starting point of the discourse is profoundly mistaken. ‘I think therefore I am’ privileges thinking over being, epistemology over ontology (the epistemic fallacy), mind over body (emotion and spirit), the ‘I’ over you, we, society, and other spe- cies. Indeed, it would be better to adopt the starting point of those African peoples who begin with Ubuntu or ‘I am because you (or perhaps we) are’.‘.. i just think it’s so cool.. the last 2 ch’s he’s just really going for it and staking his claim and where he’s going with it and he’s very unapologetic about it.. i really love it

thinking/intellect ness/explaining.. et al as huge red flag

59 min – nika: so maybe that’s the section i will be able to read.. after this reading group.. (laughs)

john: i’d like to distill my notes down into 1 min videos.. i think a lot could be summarized with just a few paragraphs

1:00 – nika: yeah.. it’s almost how directly david is quoting him in doe and his lectures.. that quote is not difficult to digest.. suddenly bhaskar becomes really clear..t

1:06 – john: whenever i get lost in the weeds.. i go back to david’s quote.. that ‘bhaskar is creating the heavy artillery to protect/support very basic notions about human decency’..so instead of being intimidated.. this is a new way to deal w this problem.. t

devijver assume good law..

graeber rethink law.. ie: graeber min\max law .. et al








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