Reconstructing Bhaskar's Transcendental Analysis of Experimental Activity


  • Dustin McWherter Unaffiliated


Ontology, Causality, Science, Experiment, Critical Realism, Bhaskar


In this essay I attempt a thorough reconstruction and modification of Roy Bhaskar's "transcendental analysis of experimental activity" to show that this analysis contains a powerful critique of regularity theories of causal laws and a strong case for a transcendental realist, powers-based theory of causal laws.  Despite the short and scattered places in which this analysis occurs in Bhaskar's texts, my reconstruction synthesizes these textual resources to formulate a unified analysis of experimentation that derives three distinct conclusions from four presuppositions and a complex of transcendental arguments.  These conclusions are: 1) Extra-experimental reality is, to a significant extent, an open system, 2) Causal laws must be distinguished from constant conjunctions of events, and 3) Causal laws are the transcendentally real tendencies of generative mechanisms.

Author Biography

Dustin McWherter, Unaffiliated

Recently awarded PhD, Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, Middlesex University.  PhD thesis: "Ontology and Cognitive Experience in Kant and Bhaskar".




How to Cite

McWherter, D. (2012). Reconstructing Bhaskar’s Transcendental Analysis of Experimental Activity. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 8(1), 199–226. Retrieved from