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Fichte-Studien

Volume 48, 2020

Fichtes Bildtheorie im Kontext, Teil II

Luciano Corsico
Pages 240-257

Image and Freedom in Fichte’s Doctrine of the State of 1813

In this paper, my aim is to offer an approach to the practical meaning of the concept of image in Fichte’s Doctrine of the State of 1813. The word “image” (Bild) plays an important role within Fichte’s philosophical terminology, especially during the last period of his intellectual production and his academic life, after leaving the University of Jena. Even a superficial reading of the several different versions of the Doctrine of Science allows one to recognize that the above-mentioned term is used by Fichte more frequently during his years in Berlin (1800–1814). Despite this, the determination of the concrete meaning of the term “image” represents a difficult interpretative challenge for readers of Fichte’s philosophy. From my point of view, Fichte uses the term “image” not only at the level of theoretical or methodological reflection, but also at that of praxis. For this reason, Fichte’s transcendental reflection in the Doctrine of the State contains not only an analysis of the negative relationship between image and being, but also, necessarily, an analysis of the positive relationship between image and freedom (Freiheit). Although his Doctrine of the State is based on a theological-religious conception, which could be questioned from the perspective of a secularized rationality, Fichte maintains a consistent conception of knowledge as an image of a world ordered by the moral law. Definitively, this image plays a central role as an original model for the action of every rational being in the sensible world.

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