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Being and the life of consciousness in Fichte’s late philosophy (1810/1811)
Author/s: Christian Klotz 
Year:  2014 Issue: Language: Italian 
Pages:  9 Pg. 639-647 FullText PDF:  64 KB
DOI:  10.3280/SF2014-004005
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In continuity with his early position, also in the late formulations of the Science of Knowledge Fichte maintains the idea that the deduction and elucidation of the structure of consciousness is an essential task of philosophy. This idea is clearly present in the introductory lectures of 1810/11, Facts of Consciousness, and in the version of the Science of Knowledge which Fichte presented in 1811. The article aims to identify the central tenets involved in Fichte’s two investigations of consciousness presented in 1810/11. The Author claims that both in Facts of Consciousness and in the Science of Knowledge of 1811, Fichte develops a monist conception which describes the fundamental activity of consciousness in non-egological terms. However, there are two different kinds of monism involved in Fichte’s two accounts. In Facts of Consciousness, Fichte defends a structural monism which focusses on the structurally identical, objectifying activity which is present in all individual instances of consciousness. In contrast, the 1811 Science of Knowledge is based on the conception of "pure being" as the ultimate principle of philosophy, which implies that consciousness must be understood as mere "image" of being. The Author argues that whereas Fichte’s introductory account investigates the self-structuring activity of consciousness which gives rise to an objective worldview, the monism of being adopted in Fichte’s ultimate foundation of philosophy concerns the ontological status of consciousness as being that of an image-like, secondary mode of being. Thus, in 1810/11 Fichte understands consciousness as being self-structuring without holding it to be ontologically absolute.
Keywords: Being, consciousness, image, monism, intuition, thinking.

  1. - Fichte, Johann Gottlieb, Nachgelassene Schriften 1810-1812, edited by Reinhard Lauth e.a., Frommann-Holzboog, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt 1999 (= GA II, 12)
  2. - Klotz 2006: Christian Klotz, Fichtes Deduktion der Bewusstseinsform in der Wissenschaftslehre 1811, «Fichte-Studien» 28 (2006), pp. 109-120.
  3. - Manz 2007: Hans Georg von Manz, Die Funktion der “Tatsachen des Bewußtseins” im Blick auf die Wissenschaftslehre, «Fichte-Studien» 31 (2007), pp 205-217.
  4. - Nagel 1986: Thomas Nagel, The View from Nowhere, Oxford University Press, Oxford 1986.
  5. - Strawson 1959: Peter F. Strawson, Individuals: An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics, Methuen, London 1959.

Christian Klotz, in "RIVISTA DI STORIA DELLA FILOSOFIA" 4/2014, pp. 639-647, DOI:10.3280/SF2014-004005


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