I picked up a copy of Roy Bhaskar’s A Realist Theory of Science from the UR Library, mainly because Graeber cites his work in Towards an Anthropological Theory of Value. The first chapter is pretty interesting; it offers an effective critique of both empirical and transcendental idealist theories of science (and hence conceptions-of-the-world) and gives what Bhaskar calls transcendental realism as an alternative. I find the concepts compelling and interesting, so I bring them up with my co-workers at the cafe: “X,” I say, “I’m reading this book about philosophy of science, about how we conceive of our investigations on the natural world,” and X’s eyes immediately begin to glass over and become distracted. It goes a little better with my cat, who bites me.
Nature loves a plague as much as a rose. — Ann Lauterbach, Missing Ages