Peter, Paul, and Objectivity
Monika Woźniak (University of Warsaw)
Contradictions: A Journal for Critical Thought III, no. 2 (2019): 29–43
Keywords: Evald Ilyenkov, Marek Siemek, intersubjectivity, subjectivity, ideal, civil society
The article aims to compare the models of human subjectivity developed by Marek Siemek (in his post-Marxist period) and Evald Ilyenkov. Both authors define human subjectivity as a self-reflective relation between the “I” and the self. This self-referentiality is possible only in relation to the other, mediated through a non-subjective element. Subjectivity, therefore, is something essentially intersubjective for both philosophers. But even though these two perspectives share the same basic scheme, they are developed in very different ways. As I argue, the main difference between them can be seen in the conceptualisation of the third, objective element. Whereas Ilyenkov describes this element as a thing involved in human activity (for example, a tool) and therefore meaningful (a view strongly connected with his theory of the ideal), Siemek emphasises the role of the civil society and its institutions. Exploring this difference is especially important as it reflects an inherent political dimension in Ilyenkov’s and Siemek’s thought. I evaluate this political dimension, pointing to the originality of Siemek’s defence of capitalism and the Schillerian traces in both concepts.
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