Volume 47, 2019

Fichtes Bildtheorie im Kontext, Teil I

Christian Klotz
Pages 44-57

Leben – Bild – Besonnenheit
Die Überwindung der idealistischen Erklärungsart in Fichtes Wissenschaftslehre 1810

Also in the latest versions of the Science of Knowledge Fichte considers explanation of the structure of consciousness a central task of philosophy. In his late explanation of consciousness, the concepts of life and image (or schema) play a central role – two concepts that in Fichte’s account are inseparable and mutually elucidate each other. By interpreting the 1810 Science of Knowledge and Fichte’s introductory lecture The facts of Consciousness from 1810/11, this article aims to show that the pair of concepts “life” and ‘image’ occur on two different theoretical levels in Fichte’s late philosophy: first, in the formulation of a view of consciousness that Fichte characterizes as ‘idealist’ and that he considers to be in continuity with Kant’s transcendental philosophy; and, second, in the exposition of the conception of consciousness as an image of a non-constructible absolute that goes beyond the idealist explanation without, however, denying its validity within its own sphere. The second step, which occupies the major part of the 1810 Science of Knowledge, can be understood as Fichte’s late reply to Jacobi’s critique of the Science of Knowledge as a ‘nihilism’. Its final step is the introduction of the concept of ‘sober- mindedness’, in the sense of a self-interpretation of moral consciousness which goes beyond any constructible content. The concluding part of the article interprets and discusses the conception of sober-mindedness as involving Fichte’s final reply to Jacobi’s criticism.