Fichte's Preface and First Introduction to Wissenschaftslehre

my apologies for running behind -procrastination, what!?- in getting the reading notes up. in an effort to help quell the anticipation i have included a brief (re: incomplete) synopsis of fichte's preface and first introduction. while these readings are utilized to bring about a common ground and to set the stage (mainly by clarifying idealism and its virtues), they are filled with tidbits that can only be described as kinder words designed to invite the reader to better understanding and to develop warm fuzzy feelings. his care and consideration is best exemplified in statements such as: "anyone who is of a different opinion does not know what he is talking about." heavens to murgatroyd! there shall be more coming soon….for now remember wissenschaftslehre ftw. ——daniel

Due to such a long delay I wanted to get the notes up to dome degree, but they are posted from my phone…apologies for any errors and I shall check back later.

Reading Notes from 22.02.2010 on Fichte adapted from J.G. Fichte’s Introductions to the Wissenschaftslehre pp 2-35.  

On the Preface

Fichte gives an overview of his plans to discuss his concept of the Wissenschaftslehre. He shares his “desire to uproot current conceptions completely and to accomplish a complete revolution in a way we think about these issues…” Fichte notes his “system is none other than the Kantian system. I.e., it contains the same view of the subject, though it proceeds in a manner that is entirely independent of Kant’s presentation.” In summation, Fichte uses his “prefatory remarks” as defining a solid foundation where he hopes all to answer all possible counterpoints throughout his introduction.

 

On the First Introduction

The need to start somewhere begins with the self, or subject, and “look within” in an effort to understand. He continues the discussion defining the difference in abstraction between dogmatism and idealism as the polar opposite views of understanding experience. When one “abstracts from the thing, then he is left with an intellect in itself and the explanatory ground of experience,” leading to idealism. Whereas dogmatism “abstracts from the intellect, then he is left with a thing in itself.” Fichte continues to identify the concerns about discourse on philosophy involving misapplication of managing knowledge. What we understand philosophy to be is really missing the point. Thus, to adequately discuss the concepts he wants to define; he creates the course of the Wissenschaftslehre. He reports: “we have long ceased to lay any claim to the name ‘philosophy’ and have given the name Wissenschaftslehre, or ‘Theory of Scientific Knowledge.’” The goal is to redefine the direction of gathering information about the self and the not-self and channel it through idealism, which according to Fichte is the I and the not-I. He moves from understanding experiences as an I, the subject, and gathering information about the not-I from the former, i.e., the subject. Fichte achieves this through positing the self as the basis for understanding with the limitations present in one’s own ability during an act of free thinking. This is a limitation to the freedom of the thought process, which allows constraint to be viewed and moves the I into the realm of the consciousness. “This type of idealism begins with a single basic law of reason, which it immediately establishes within consciousness…. It summons the listener or the reader to think freely of a certain concept…he is obliged to proceed in a certain way…. The basis for this necessity lies in the nature of the intellect itself and is not a matter of free choice.” Ultimately, Fichte believes individuals are free to examine the whole or parts of the whole of consciousness by “proceeding in accordance with a specific rule of composition and in such a way as to enable this to come into being before his own eyes,” or the rule that governs the process of extending thoughts on the I toward the not-I and back again by understanding the inherent limits. 

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