Reality and reason preface to the korean edition

Sean Sayers
University of Kent
The appearance of this Korean translation of Reality and Reason gives me the opportunity to clarify the purpose of the book and to indicate some of the areas in which my views have developed and altered in the years since it was first written. My primary aim in the book is to explain and defend the realist and materialist view that there is an objective material world of which we can have knowledge. My argument, I have now come to realise, takes a Kantian `transcendental' form. I do not prove these propositions from any more fundamental or indubitable premises, for there are none. Rather, starting from the assumptions that there is a material world and that knowledge of it is possible, I try to show how such knowledge is possible Β what are its necessary conditions Β and what this entails about the nature of subject and object, appearance and reality, and the relations between them. Althusser and Ruben adopt a similar approach, I now see, and I regret my polemic against them on this topic (pp. 9-14). A great deal of traditional epistemology starts from the Cartesian assumption that we have immediate and indubitable knowledge of the contents of subjective consciousness, of appearances; whereas objective reality is something beyond and separate, and related to appearances only contingently. Once a dualistic gulf is created in this way between subject and object, knowledge of the objective world by the subject becomes inexplicable and impossible. The possibility of such knowledge obliges us to reject dualism and assume instead the unity of subject and object, appearance and reality. Reality must not be regarded as a mere `thing-initself' beyond or behind appearances, it is revealed in and through appearances. And appearances are not purely subjective: they are not mere appearances, but always and necessarily the appearances of some aspect of objective reality which is disclosed in and through them..
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