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[XTalk] Re: Critical realism?

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  • Robert M Schacht
    Rikki, Just a short response: On Tue, 25 Jan 2000 23:35:28 +0000 Rikki E. Watts ... way ... elements and ... on ... at ... if ... Israel. But how do we know
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 26, 2000
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      Just a short response:

      On Tue, 25 Jan 2000 23:35:28 +0000 "Rikki E. Watts"
      <rwatts@...> writes:

      I wrote:
      > > Thanks for this summary. Perhaps you can explain to me something
      > > about Wright's use of "hypothesis." Is that original with him, or is

      > > that Lonergan or Ben Meyer? What Wright calls a hypothesis is to me
      > > hopelessly large and convoluted, and is impossible to "test" in any
      > > I find meaningful. How does one "test" one of Wright's "hypotheses"?

      > Your observation is fair enough, but I would urge that this is to be
      > expected in any new paradigm. It takes time to isolate all the
      elements and
      > then begin to test their explanatory power....
      > I would argue that testing Wright's hypothesis is exactly what is going
      > in e.g. the dialogue between himself, Crossan, and Borg (in print and
      > e.g. SBL). E.g. did Israel conceive of itself as still being in some
      > significant way in exile? Let's look at the texts and then try to see
      > this hypothesis makes better sense of what we know of first cent

      But how do we know about first cent Israel? Is there some circularity of
      reasoning here?

      > I think Wright's hypothesis is as testable as any other currently on
      > (and more so than some).

      I am not yet convinced of this. From some of the reviews I've seen of the
      Borg: Wright book, they seem to be talking past each other rather than
      with each other. But I've got my own copy now, so I'll be able to find
      out for myself as soon as I have time to do the reading.

      I'm basically sympathetic to Wright's enterprise, but skeptical (so far)
      as to method. I still don't have any tools in my kit that work any better
      than the critical tools of "science," for all its shortcomings, and what
      you've suggested so far seems elusive and not concrete enough for me.

      Wright's "hypothesis" seems more to me like a grand theory than a
      hypothesis. If so, then it should have some concrete, very specific test
      implications which, if falsified, should make the theory collapse. But do
      I hear you saying that Wright's "hypothesis" is really more of a
      Gestalt-- you either buy into the whole thing or you don't? If Wright's
      "hypothesis" is decomposable into testable chunks then we have somewhere
      to go with this: What are the chunks? "E.g. did Israel conceive of itself
      as still being in some significant way in exile?" Is that one of the
      chunks? How does Wright justify this?

      BTW, Crossan gets rather irritated with Wright's propensity to use
      phrases like "in some significant way." I say this as one who uses such
      locutions myself, but methodologically, there's really nothing you can do
      with that, is there? Either you specify what the "significant way" is, or
      the (sub?)hypothesis is untenable in critical discourse.

      Antonio has identified a few other possible chunks.

      If we cannot debate and test these chunks, then I'm wondering if we can
      go anywhere at all with it.

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