This essay argues that Marx’s distinction between concrete-in-thought and concrete-in-reality does not invoke a conceptual or empirical difference but a difference-in-act. This difference is verified in social practice rather than in thought. The actuality of practice verifies that of thought without there being a metaphysical correspondence between them. While thought can adequately represent the structure of practice, there is no similarity or resemblance between the structure of thought (what is concrete-in-thought) and that of practice (concretein- reality).What is concrete-in-reality is a practical act whose nature does not reveal itself either to those executing it or to the theoretical consciousness that takes the consciousness of practitioners as its starting point.
This paper challenges the assumption, widely taken for granted, that the nature of perception can be investigated independently of the question whether it does or does not figure in the self-consciousness of the perceiver. Kern argues that the main obstacle that hinders us in understanding the idea of an intrinsically self-conscious capacity for perception, which enables its bearer to know how things are, is based on the false premise that perception and judgment are two distinguishable capacities. By contrast, Kern argues that the perceptions of a being that is able to judge are not exercises of a capacity that is more primitive than its capacity for judgment, but rather a specific manner of its exercise. The two-capacity view is taken for granted by almost everybody in the debate about perceptual knowledge, including John McDowell, whose conception of perceptual knowledge gives us the most sophisticated and complex account of the relation between perception and judgment. Kern argues that the two-capacity view, as such, is confused. Perceiving how things are is a distinctive manner of making judgments about them. Perceptions, as such, equip their bearer with genuine knowledge of the world. Perception is, on this view, a fundamental cognitive capacity of the human mind to acquire knowledge of how things are.
The essay unfolds Koch’s understanding of hermeneutic realism, based centrally on the philosophies of Kant and Heidegger and spelled out in distinction to Irad Kimhi’s theory of negation and the thinking-being relationship. The author analyzes the basic structures of predication, which he partly interprets against Kimhi’s claim for the primacy of the predicative statement of negation. He then comments, with reference to Aristotle’s notions of “aisthesis” and “noesis,” on Heidegger’s theory of “unconcealment” and presents his own conception of a “hermeneutic realism,” grounded in this theory, which combines the idea of an essentially interpretive or hermeneutic engagement with the world with an underlying realism about the world as thus engaged. Following Adorno, Koch here argues that thinking literally ‘works’ itself out of the rawmateriality of nature through engaging hermeneutically in its constitutive confrontation with this same nature itself. It is in this sense that his understanding of hermeneutics is not only close to Hegel and Marx but is, as he argues, truly inscribed as well in the tradition of dialectical materialism.
Does Kant’s restriction of knowledge to phenomena undermine objectivity? Jacobi argues that it does, daring the transcendental idealist to abandon the thing in itself and embrace the “strongest idealism”. According to Bruno, McDowell and Meillassoux adopt a similar critique of Kant’s conception of objectivity and, more significantly, echo Jacobi’s dare to profess the strongest idealism - what McDowell approvingly calls “consistent idealism” and Meillassoux disparagingly calls “extreme idealism”. After exposing the Cartesian projection on which Jacobi’s critique rests, Bruno shows that McDowell’s and Meillassoux’s critiques make the same projection. He argues that whereas McDowell offers an inconsistent alternative to Kant’s idealism, Meillassoux begs the question against it. Finally, Bruno sketches the account of objectivity that follows from Kant’s distinction between general and transcendental logic.