Reality and Reason [Book Review]

Idealistic Studies 19 (2):178-179 (1989)
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Sayers announces that his objective in this book is to develop and defend a realist account of knowledge. It is an epistemology in the Marxist tradition which extends the theories of Lenin and Engels and attempts to correct what is admittedly unsatisfactory in their position. By a realist epistemology Sayers means one that affirms an objective, material world, existing independently of consciousness, but knowable by consciousness. It is a materialist theory in the sense that it denies the existence of consciousness independent of matter and affirms that all reality is ultimately material. It affirms a reflection theory of knowledge—that the objective world can be known by consciousness only because consciousness is a reflection of reality. Without such a reflective connection between consciousness and objective reality, an unbridgeable gap is created and knowledge is impossible. This is the trouble with traditional empiricist, rationalist, and Kantian positions which make knowledge merely a matter of contemplating our own ideas which may or may not resemble objective reality.



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