The promise of critical realism
This chapter shows that critical realism as an alternative to both anti-realistic readings of post-modernity and narrowly conceived modernist modes of thought. Critical realism tends to reject any simplistic mind/body dualism in favour of a holistic reading of the world in which reality is made up of mind and matter existing in intimate and indivisible unity. Critical realism sets its face against naive forms of realism which assume that reality can simply be read off from surface appearances. Critical realists are committed to the dialectic of the so-called 'hermeneuticalcircle', which insists that the individual parts of reality must always be interpreted in the light of the whole, and the whole in the light of its constituent parts. Hence critical realism is best read as providing a philosophical reflection on how best to respond to reality, rather than as affirming a closed meta-narrative.