Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bonnitta Roy's report from the critical realism/integral theory conference

Bonnitta was kind enough to write a detailed report at IPS about her attendance at this conference, which will be of interest to both integralists and speculative realists of various sorts. Here are a few select excerpts but please see the post for a full story:

"When we applied this type of analysis to Integral Theory (IT) , we got the following key problem areas:

IT commits the epistemic fallacy: IT confuses the “known world” from the “real world”, resulting in a “many worlds” view.... IT describes all these “worlds” that are enacted at different altitudes across different methodologies. This is problematic, because all those worlds are actually world*views – or known worlds. This is the epistemic fallacy. On the other hand, CR must account for separate world*views, and it does this through the notion of the stratification of the actual world. (CR makes a distinction between the actual and the real).

IT is based on the notion of broad empiricism.... The ramifications of this critique is huge for IT. it suggests that all the developmental theories – which derive their validity from empirical research – are lacking a key explanatory critique.....lacking an explanatory critique about *why* the stages are the way they are. The empiricist in you says only “that they are” and posits that this is a deep truth about the universe. The CR “underlabors” and says, but these stages *are the way they are* because of *structures* that are contingent and are operating outside the field that you are studying. What are these structures? They are structures like the dominant geo-social-political economy that constrains development in just these ways, such that to *survive* the ego must constantly become more and more complexified along just these lines.

IT has a monological ontology (or alternately, has a hidden “shadow” ontology).  The mono-logical ontology of IT is “reality is composed of perspectives all the way up and all the way down.” Remember, this commits the epistemic fallacy. But since it over-determines all of reality, then it becomes impossible to anchor disparate “truths” through appeal to a greater or separate fact-checker. IT checks “facts” by appeal to “a community of the adequate” except that the community itself is deemed adequate according to the premises produced by those very same “facts” – the ordering of the perspectives."

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