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Abstract

This article highlights sympathies between Wang Yangming's notion of zhenzhi (real knowing) and Stanley Cavell's concept of acknowledgment. I begin by noting a problem in interpreting Wang on the unity of knowing and acting, which leads to considering how our suffering pain figures in our “real knowing” of another's pain. I then turn to Cavell's description of a related problem in modern skepticism, where Cavell argues that knowing another's pain requires acknowledging it. Cavell's concept of acknowledgment answers to Wang's insistence that knowing and acting are one, and corrects Antonio Cua's very different appropriation of “acknowledgment” to explain Wang's doctrine.