By Lee Braver
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Additional resources for A Thing of This World: A History of Continental Anti-Realism
It is not constituted by our knowledge, by our epistemic values, by our capacity to refer to it, by our imposition of concepts, theories, or languages. . 4 In other words, objects are, in Nicholas Rescher’s terms, “thought-invariant or thought indifferent” (Rescher 2000, 102). R2 Correspondence The second component (in my ordering) is epistemological. It deﬁnes truth as the correspondence between (to cast my net widely—the differences don’t concern me at this point) thoughts, ideas, beliefs, words, propositions, sentences, or languages on the one hand, and things, objects, states of affairs, conﬁgurations, reality, or experience on the other; that is, between something on the side of the mind or language and something on the side of the world.
Here he follows through on the promise of the ideas broached in the early work—primarily Phenomenological Ontology and Unconcealment Truth—with the important addition of history. Due to the new conceptions of reality and truth, history now permeates everything, and this removes any possibility of stable, unchanging reality, including a true self. Like everything else, the essence of human nature is fundamentally different in different epochs. Nothing can serve as an anchor or explanatory arche —not independent reality as in realism, not transcendental subjectivity as in Kantian anti-realism, and not Being.
Although they make signiﬁcant advances and verge on breaking with the Kantian Paradigm, I will argue that neither succeeds in getting free of it. Hegel’s historical phases of consciousness end up getting gathered into a deﬁnitive totality at the end of history, while Nietzsche’s drives are all incarnations of will to power, both ideas imposing limitations on what the subject can be. Furthermore, their conceptions of truth—the whole for Hegel and the pragmatic increase of power for Nietzsche— push them back to realist remnants, since Hegel’s notion requires that there be a determinate whole, while Nietzsche needs at least a loose deﬁnition of power and what counts as increasing or decreasing it in order to evaluate various embodiments of will to power.