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61. Fichte-Studien: Volume > 49
Carlos Zorrilla Piña Circumvolutions of the Mind: Fichte on First Principles and Transcendental Circuits
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Fichte once described the first principle of his philosophical system as a globe or attractor point which rests on nothing else but its own power, and which – as by the inception of a gravitational field – thereby simultaneously sets the conditions for the groundedness of all the components of the edifice of knowledge which follow. This description suggests his philosophical enterprise is articulated in accordance to the linear structure of foundationalism. At the same time, however, Fichte’s enterprise is unequivocally transparent regarding its many circularities, the most interesting of which is described by the relation between the I under philosophical observation and the I of the transcendental philosopher who undertakes the observation. Indeed, such a relation – which Fichte called not only a circle but a circuit – is what explains his assertion that the task of the transcendental philosopher is to be a pragmatic historiographer rather than a legislator of the mind. The philosopher’s task is historical insofar as the I who undertakes the examination is at every move trying to repeat its genesis in a conscious manner. It is circular, in turn, insofar as the activity of the examined I is supposed to culminate in precisely the point where the examining I stands, but not forgetting that it has to account for the possibility of the latter’s very examination. To map the horizon and grounding capacity of such circumvolutions of the mind is what this paper aims to do.
62. Fichte-Studien: Volume > 49
Elena Ficara 'Transcendental' in Kant and Fichte: A Conceptual Shift and Its Philosophical Meaning
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The article is about the meaning of the word ‘transcendental’ in Kant and Fichte. Its aim is not merely exegetical. It is a common hermeneutical insight (now revitalised by research on conceptual engineering and conceptual genealogy for analytic philosophy) that analysing the use and definitions of concepts in history, and their shifts in the development of the history of philosophy, is a crucial tool we have to understand those concepts and to assess their viability for philosophy today. In this paper, I focus on Kant’s use and definitions of the word ‘transcendental’ and suggest that they are symptomatic of a fundamental question that is not completely answered in Kant’s philosophy. If transcendental philosophy deals not with objects but rather the conditions of possibility of objective knowledge, then important questions emerge: What are these possibility conditions? Do they exist? Are they special objects? What is their nature? I show that the shift in Fichte’s use and understanding of the concept of ‘transcendental’ leads to a possible solution of the problem Kant was struggling with.
63. Fichte-Studien: Volume > 49
Roberto Horácio Sá Pereira Fichte’s Original Insight Reviewed
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This paper addresses Fichte’s puzzle of self-consciousness. I propose a new reading of “Fichte’s original insight”, inspired by Pareyson’s general reading, which I call here the “Fichtean metaphysical turn in transcendental philosophy”. Against the mainstream view in Fichte’s scholarship, I argue that Fichte’s and Kant’s views do not concur regarding the primary reference of the “I”, namely spontaneous agency in thinking, which Fichte calls “Tathandlung”. Yet, their views do in fact concur when Fichte claims that this spontaneous agency in thinking is the “essence” or the underlying nature of the self, which Kant denies. Regarding this I take the side of Fichte. But how is Fichte’s original insight supposed to solve the puzzle of self-consciousness? At that transcendental level, the puzzle does not arise because there is no need for self-identification in the first place. Transcendental self-knowledge results from the sui generis intellectual Selbstanschauung that everyone has of oneself as sheer spontaneous agency in thinking. But at the empirical level, the puzzle does not arise either and for the same reason. Reference to the embodied self dispenses with any self-identification because it is based on the fundamental metaphysical relation everybody has to their own body, namely identity.