Critical Realist Epistemology
Critical Realist Interrelation
between Forecasts and Hypotheses in the Empirical dimension
and Probes and Occurrences in the Actual dimension
with Fringe sensitivity to anomalies
According to the stratified reality of CR, occurrences exist in the actual dimension and are perceived by us in the empirical dimension. Our personal factual experiences strive to be a reflection of the structure and mechanisms of the occurrence in the real dimension. From the person’s initial instinctive reflection upon the occurrence, he constructs a forecast regarding his future understanding, and this forecast is highly influenced by his personal epistemology. His reaction is delayed by a process of rationalisation in which he re-examines the attributes of his initial forecast and in light of an inner search for occurrences from his past which possess thematic similarity, he eventually constructs a more rational hypothesis from his understanding. The hypothesis is the best possible current understanding of the structure and mechanism of the phenomenon in question. He conducts this process with sensitivity to differences relative to his initial forecast (anomalies). From this hypothesis, the individual devises a probe which comprises an activity which acts upon the circumstances according to the person’s capabilities. The individual predefines the outcome which he expects to achieve from the active probe which he intends to conduct. By initiating the probe the individual can evaluate a single or multiple aspects of the phenomenon. The probe influences on the occurrences that follow and the outcome are compared to the expectation within the hypothesis.
This complete cycle pays special attention to anomalies that arise to the individual's hypothesis, and I define this as the “fringe division” role. The personal factual experience, rationalisation, causality and the impact of our probes are located in the real dimension of CR, in that they strive to asymptotically achieve an accurate reflection of the phenomenon in question. These stages are directly dependent on the personal epistemology of the individual.
Knowledge = Verified Hypothesis
To summarise this cycle, in the epistemology of CR, knowledge comprises a fallible hypothesis, and each cycle can either verify it, increasing our conviction in its accuracy, or refute it due to the appearance of anomalies.