Defending Objectivity: Essays in Honour of Andrew Collier

Defending Objectivity: Essays in Honour of Andrew Collier

Defending Objectivity: Essays in Honour of Andrew Collier

Defending Objectivity: Essays in Honour of Andrew Collier


Andrew Collier is the boldest defender of objectivity - in science, knowledge, thought, action, politics, morality and religion. In this tribute and acknowledgement of the influence his work has had on a wide readership, his colleagues show that they have been stimulated by his thinking and offer challenging responses. This wide-ranging book covers key areas with which defenders of objectivity often have to engage. Sections are devoted to the following: * objectivity of value * objectivity and everyday knowledge * objectivity in political economy * objectivity and reflexivity * objectivity postmodernism and feminism * objectivity and nature The diverse contributions range from social and political thought to philosophy, reflecting the central themes of Collier's work.


This Festschrift was conceived in the Spring of 2003. the principal aim was, of course, to present Andrew Collier with a tribute to the enormous affection in which he is held by all who know him and to the enormous influence which his remarkably creative and original work has had over a wide readership. the publication, in June 2003, of Andrew's important volume of essays, In Defence of Objectivity, gave a clear focus to the project; contributors were provided with a copy of the title essay, and many of the contributions refer explicitly to this book. a special seminar in the Critical Realism series, held on a beautiful Midsummer's Day, enabled contributors to present preliminary versions of their arguments and to hear Andrew's characteristically generous and witty responses. Six weeks later, final versions were in, and Routledge generously accelerated the production of the volume.

Andrew Collier was born in 1944 and studied philosophy at the University of London. After temporary jobs at Warwick and Sussex, he taught at Bangor for fifteen years, moving to Southampton in 1988 on the closure of the Bangor philosophy department. He has quietly but steadily built up a major reputation as one of the UK's leading realist and socialist philosophers, and his work on realism has succeeded in making accessible even the most difficult parts of Roy Bhaskar's work.

Andrew is an enormously widely read and wide-ranging thinker, equally at home across a wide range of topics in social and political thought as in philosophy. These essays reflect central themes in his work, notably in realist philosophy and in socialist and ecological thought. His early and continuing interest in existential psychoanalysis and motifs of encounter and self-forming is reflected in a personal memoir by Ruth Merrtens which we have placed alongside Roy Bhaskar's.

Since Andrew has produced a boldly unfashionable defence of objectivity, Ray Monk and Doug Porpora examine the merits of social science, whose objective is to produce objective knowledge, in comparison with two currently fashionable alternatives - poststructuralism and postmodernism.

Next, one of Andrew's most challenging arguments, put forward in Being and Worth, is for the objectivity of value, in the strong sense that values are inherent in the nature of things and are not matters of human orientations to them.

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