Scientific Method

One year before Kuhn 1961 Classic:



Conjunction (and)

A and B” is true only if A is true and B is true.

An operand of a conjunction is a conjunct.

constant conjunction

Two events A and B are constantly conjoined if whenever one occurs the other does.

For Hume,this relationship is what is meant by saying that the one causes the other, or this is all that we can understand by the notion.


Transcendental Realism

we must separate epistemology (knowledge, systems, thoughts, ideas, theories, language…) from ontology (being, things, ontics, existents, reality, objects of investigation).

Real structures exists independently of, and are out of phase with, actual patterns of events necessitating the need to perform experimentation so that scientists might make sense of their operation in a controlled and non-complex environment (that is a relatively closed environment).

constant conjunction, happens in closed systems in which event 2 always follows from event 1. This occurs only in certain situations, such as in a laboratory or similarly controlled environment. Most of reality is not a closed system, it is what we call an open-system.

                        Domain of Real            Domain of Actual            Domain of Empirical        

Mechanisms                      X

Events                                 X                                    X

Experiences                        X                                    X                                    X

The basis of causal law lay in the generative mechanisms of nature, of which we do not have direct, only mediated, experience. These mechanisms can be understood as the way things act, that is the structures, powers, and liabilities which frame an object’s tendencies as they operate and interact. These mechanisms are said to operate in both open and closed systems (but are of course more identifiable in closed systems) and may also be exercised without being manifest.

Roy Bhaskar, The Possibility of Naturalism 25:

“for transcendental realism, it is the nature of objects that determines their cognitive possibilities for us; that, in nature, it is humanity that is contingent and knowledge, so to speak, accidental. Thus it is because sticks and stones are solid that they can be picked up and thrown, not because they can be picked up and thrown that they are solid (though that they can be handled in this sort of way may be a contingently necessary condition for our knowledge of their solidity)”

Critical Realism


structure precedes human agency in so far as it provides the material causes of human action. We are always thrown into a socio-linguistic-epistemic context in which we must act. But following Weber, the structures of society must not be reified, but operate through the mediation of human agency and social activity. ‘Society is both the ever present condition (material cause) and the continually reproduced outcome of human agency.

This dynamic relationship between structure and agency forms the transformational model of social activity (TMSA) and the basis of social scientific investigation in the relationships which constitute ‘society’.  People do not simply create society, for it pre-exists them and is the necessary condition for their activity. Rather, society is instead to be regarded as an ensemble of structures, practices, and relationships, which individuals both reproduce and transform, without which society would not exist.