This volume examines Fichte's notion of the image in the systematic domains of ethics, philosophy of history, political philosophy, philosophy of language, aesthetics, and the philosophy of religion. Several contributions investigate from various viewpoints the central feature of Fichte’s late philosophy that, in terms of image theory, human freedom is understood as the ability to understand oneself as the image of an absolute that transcends all appearances. These investigations reveal that Fichte's image theory underlies his late ethics, state theory, and educational conception and thus characterizes the peculiar meaning in which Fichte's late philosophy is still to be understood as an expression of an Enlightenment project that goes beyond mere theory. This volume also contains the three papers awarded with the "Fichte Prize for Young Researchers" in 2018.
Der vorliegende Band untersucht Fichtes bildtheoretisches Denken von der Theorie der Einbildungskraft bis in die systematischen Bereiche der Ethik, der Geschichtsphilosophie, der politischen Philosophie, der Sprachphilosophie, der Kunsttheorie und der Religionsphilosophie. Dass die Freiheit des Menschen bildtheoretisch aus der in seinem Selbstbewusstsein angelegten Fähigkeit zu verstehen ist, sich als Bild eines alle Erscheinungen transzendierenden Absoluten zu verstehen, ist ein zentraler Gedanke der Spätphilosophie Fichtes, der in mehreren Beiträgen unter verschiedenen Fragestellungen in den Blick genommen und diskutiert wird. Dabei zeigt sich, dass diese These Fichtes seiner späten Ethik, Staatstheorie und Erziehungskonzeption zugrunde liegt und damit den eigentümlichen Sinn prägt, in dem auch Fichtes Spätphilosophie noch als Ausdruck eines über die bloße Theorie hinauszielenden Aufklärungsprojekts zu verstehen ist. Der Band wird von drei Beiträgen beschlossen, die 2018 mit dem “Fichte-Preis für junge Forscher” ausgezeichnet wurden.
This essay presents the fundamental problem of the meaningfulness of language, which is explained by the structure of linguistic signs itself and afterwards solved by Fichte’s theorem of pure will from the “Doctrine of Science nova methodo”. In this respect, Fichte’s philosophy can make an essential contribution to the foundation of a philosophy of language.
This article shows how the correlation between duty and freedom in the moral philosophy of Fichte can be seen as an image constellation. From the perspective of the real being, the act of the absolute opening of reflexivity in the conditional is an object of an ethical duty. Moral law regulates the transition from self-evidence of the absolute to its actual occurrence. Moral law is a logos: It forms people ontologically, and it regulates the process of ‘becoming image’ of the absolute. The genesis of reality, according to Fichte, occurs only through freedom, the theoretical-practical formational principle of the world. This law is the basis of ideals. As such, it is not the basis of the real. Through freedom – spontaneity and non-law – it produces itself, on the one hand, negatively in the real. As the basis of ideals, on the other hand, this law occurs as an ethical norm – non-freedom – and retains its difference to the real. Freedom, in contrast, is the basis and formational principle of reality. As such, it produces, for one, through the negative relationship to the law and forms the real. As genesis and spontaneity, freedom occurs always as non-law and, as such, retains its difference to ideals. In this double negation, the correlation between real and ideal being is simultaneously formed. Freedom remains the object of an absolute duty.
In Über den Unterschied des Geistes u. des Buchstabens in der Philosophie,Fichte writes that man’s most fundamental tendency to philosophize is simply the drive to represent for the sake of representing—the same drive which is the ultimate basis of the fine arts. The process of representing for the sake of representing is grounded in “spirit”, which is nothing other than the power of the imagination to raise to consciousness images of dasUrschöne. In this paper, I suggest that the affinity between artistic activity and Fichte’s transcendental philosophy is closer than previously thought. I further suggest that for Fichte, transcendental philosophy is a performance and that such an interpretation of Fichte’s thought points to a way out of the circularity in his transcendental project.
McDowell in Mind and World developed a post-transcendental understanding of some core philosophical puzzles of subjectivity, like consciousness, conceptual capacity and perception. One of the main assumptions in the background of his philosophical proposal is that all our possible experience has to be determined and therefore has to be acknowledged as conceptual, therefore this very experience has to be both relational and representational. After this statement of conceptual experience in the early 2000’s a debate started which still involves philosophers like Brandom, Gaskin, Wright, Heck, Stalnaker, Peacocke, Dreyfus. The discussion in the beginning was focused on the definition of the Space of Reasons, what is most lively today is the epistemological uncertainty of the possibility of perceiving imagines in a reductive view as perceptual (non-conceptual) experience. The proposal of McDowell is a quasi-Hegelian understanding of concepts. I think that is possible an alternative path, moving from a new understanding of conceptual spontaneity and of the determination in general, rooted in J. G. Fichte Sittenlehre (1812) and in the general framework of the Wissenschaftslehre (mostly the WL Nova methodo and some later expositions) in a broader and more nuanced understanding of the post-kantian transcendental philosophy.
Fichte’s ethics changed in many ways between 1794 and 1812: in the first place spiritual life replaced the transformation of nature; individual supersession was radicalized; and ethics was linked with first philosophy. In 1812 it was no longer a matter of inflecting natural necessity by means of the model image of an ideal world (Vorbild). The theme of image reappears as an externalizing of absolute life. Ethical action becomes a moment of this manifestation: a return to unity, following the process of fragmentation of the originary phenomenon (the I or the I-one), into an infinity of individual I’s. This fragmentation is fondamental: life is self-consciousness only in this individual form. The ethical act manifests the concept or image of God with the self-annihilation of individuality. Fichte had already written, in part XI of the Second Introduction, that the I, “only reasonnable”, “is no longer an individual”, and in the first Sittenlehre, § 18 : “We are all supposed to act identically”. Fichte’s final Ethics thus does not radicalize the supersession of the individual. It defines the rational individual by this supersession of himself [or herself], making ethics into a moment [stage] of the absolute life. The matter is not to merge the individual into the whole, but to partake in a living order, in the activity of the whole, which reaches out to each of its members, only to return to the first unity, by forming the whole as such.
In the later Fichte the reflection splits the world into a fivefoldness of its possible view. To get through all the a priori arranged levels from sensuality to the Doctrine of Science means to use up all the possibilities of the views of the world. I will examine whether Fichte can offer us a direct proof of completeness of the standpoints or at least show indirectly that there must be exactly five of them. Which answer would he give us if we argued that history, skepticism and nonentity could complement the array?
According to the early Fichte, designation of mental concepts and highly abstract concepts happens by means of ‘schemata’. Through an unconscious mechanism, we transfer the name of a sensible thing into a supersensible object. Fichte looked upon this process as a source of mistakes. In Addresses to the German Nation, he changes his conception and puts symbols or actual images in the place of schemata. These images don’t unify sensible and supersensible notions as schemata do, rather they draw an analogy between these notions. This analogy guides the subject in creating a notion. The word initiates and inspires the process for creating a notion. Furthermore, the word shows through the image, in what way we should set in motion our capacity of representation. So the word does not offer abstract rules for the reason but gives an image which contains the rules of procedure.
From my point of view, Fichte modified his theory of language not only to
deal with problems immanent to the philosophy of language. He aimed to
construct a philosophy of language which was much more consistent with the
view of the human being and the conception of intersubjectivity according to
the Wissenschaftslehre. The modified philosophy of language
proves more convincingly that basically when we understand speeches of
others we neither apprehend perfect meanings nor receives ideas of others
more or less passively but we re-create or re-produce thoughts of the