Volume 21, Issue 2, Autumn 2016
George J. Seidel
The Imagination in Kant and Fichte, and Some Reflections on Heidegger’s Interpretation
The paper deals with the meaning of the transcendental imagination in Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, comparing it with the productive imagination proposed by Fichte in his Wissenschaftslehre of 1794. It also presents Heidegger’s views concerning both Kant and Fichte. Regarding Kant there is also a discussion of the difference between the first and second editions of the First Critique. It may be noted that Heidegger prefers the first edition to the second, since, in his view, the latter leads into German Idealism. In Fichte’s philosophy the imagination plays a considerably larger role than it does in Kant. And Heidegger early on (in 1929) recognizes the importance of Fichte as a philosopher in its own right, and not just, as was customary in the period, a mere transitional figure between Kant and Hegel. The paper concludes with a critique of Heidegger’s views regarding both Fichte and Kant. Though there is an addendum discussing the function of the imagination in the aesthetics of Kant (classicism), in that of Fichte (romanticism), and a brief comparison with Heidegger’s own aesthetics.