Volume 50, Issue 3, September 2010
Fichte on Cognition and Volition
This paper explores the role that willing plays in Fichte’s transcendental idealism, as set out in the nova methodo lectures on the Wissenschaftslehre and elsewhere. I first consider the link between the idea of the self-positing I and freedom, as well as the bifurcation of the I into cognition and volition. I then pinpoint the significance of intellectual intuition as part of Fichte’s strategy of substantiating the actuality of freedom via practical reason, especially in relation to the way in which our capacity for self-determination conditions our knowledge-claims about nature. Finally I indicate that the will is essential for intuitional experience, which entails the ability to distinguish pure willing from empirical willing. In this context, I argue that, for Fichte, willing is constitutive of the possibility of consciousness
in general, and the possibility of determinate knowledge in particular.