March 1

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Bibliography
1. Autobiography of Jesse Olsavsky (Toledo: 2010).

Reading Notes, Jesse Olsavsky.

How do we explain experience? This, according to Fichte, is the question philosophy seeks to answer. Let’s start with what we have—representations. More specifically, starting with the belief that we are free, how can we explain those representations that are accompanied with a feeling of necessity, or limitation? There are two ways, both involving a form of abstraction. Either we abstract from the intellect and anatomize how the object in-itself determines representations, or we abstract from the object and analyze how the intellect provides the conditions for our experiences. Neither refutes the other, but Fichte chooses the latter; we cannot abstract from ourselves, but we can begin philosophical deduction from the perspective of self-consciousness in order to explain experiences through laws or operations of the intellect.
Beginning with self-consciousness, we already know that we have sensory representations, but awareness of sensory intuition according to Fichte, clearly does not constitute a complete state of consciousness, because it is also coalesced with intellectual intuition. We cannot know how the object itself creates a sensory intuition—or that it even can do this—but we can discover how intellectual intuition exists within consciousness, and how the intellect posits itself in a certain necessary way as the condition for a unified consciousness. We understand this argues Fichte by reverting into ourselves. Initially there seems to be an insuperable barrier between thinking subject and object of thought, but if we make ourselves the object of thought, the thinking subject and the object of thought are the same thing. This consciousness of one’s own thinking without reference to external objects-including ourselves as bodies—generates, or posits, the “I.” This I is the starting point of Fichte’s system, but it has its limits; it is arguably better than dogmatism, yet it cannot disprove dogmatism. It does not account for the objects in themselves. But Fichte’s goal is not speculative metaphysics. Instead, Fichte demonstrates that we necessarily posit the I in a certain way. We posit the I as finite, as determined by that which is “not-I”.

In other words, our perceptions or our thoughts are determined, the individual things that make up our thoughts come to us without any input from us, we are not in control! we ourselves have no control over what we think or what we do. The final outcome of our beliefs are not of our choosing but rather an automatic thing that happens, it is probably beyond our understanding. You might think you are in control of your life but this, according to Fichte, is not the case. Read: Metaphysical determinism

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