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The article presents different views of understanding the meanings of historical facts and the nature of historical narratives. It also points to the problems related to understanding the historical work and historical narratives in selected works of the representatives of naive realism, constructivism and critical realism. It is assumed that Eugen Zelenak's presentation of the basic ideas of critical realism (which stresses the importance of applying various conceptual frameworks) could have constructivist consequences.
The arguments concerning modernity of the Slovak thinking manifested themselves in the course of the 20th century in the confrontations of two streams: the traditionalistic and modernistic ones. The Hegelianism as the intellectual source of the national philosophy was rejected, while the conservatives criticized severly modern philosophy for its secularization tendencies. Against Kant Thomas Aquinas and the neothomism were picked up; the philosophical synthesis should have been grounded in the metaphysical principles. The divergence of incommensurable positions of transcendence and immanence manifested itself in full size in the conflicts between the representatives of the Catholic modernity and the avant-garde theoreticians and the surrealist poets. The same applies to the philosophical disagreements concerning the nature of knowledge between the adherents of the intuitive realism on one side and the critical realism on the other side. In the Slovak milieu the enforcing of modernity always had to face the opposition or even an open negation of the modernism.
The aim of the paper is to discuss the definition of the fact presented by Vaclav Cernik. At first, the author outlines the views of the defenders of the naive realism, constructivism (or narrativism), and critical realism in historiography. The leading proponents of narrativism hold that what the historians construe are not single facts, but general narrative interpretations. The second part offers a critical analysis of some notions and distinctions introduced by Cernik in his theory of the social fact. The most questionable is his concept of observation statements and his way of differentiation between observational and theoretical statements. The author's conclusion is that the most reliable is the middle ground between naive realism and constructivism in their radical forms.
This article explores the sociological meaning of the concept of agency in the context of the experiences of system transformation in Poland after 1989. It critically reviews the existing approaches to studying the structure — agency relationships (structuralist, voluntarist, conflationist and critical realist) and explores two dominant ways of analysing social agency in the sociology of system transformation in Poland — the macrostructural approach and the strategic approach. The macrostructural approach retains the objectivity and causal efficacy of social structures, but tends to underplay the role of the bottom-up morphogenesis of the social order. The strategic approach is focused on morphogenetic processes, but it tends to conflate structure and agency precluding the detailed analysis of their contribution to the constitution of social order. As a solution, it is proposed to combine insights derived from both approaches within the framework of critical realism as developed by Archer. The critical realist approach to the system change conceptualises it as the outcome of the interplay of analytically distinct social structures and agency that develops throughout time. As the social and economic system in Poland is increasingly shaped by its semi-peripheral role within the global capitalist system, it is suggested to move beyond the exploration of system transformation to the analysis of constitution, reproduction and resistance against the Central and Eastern European varieties of capitalism.
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