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The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 10, 2007

Ancient and Modern Philosophy

Simon Lumsden
Pages 189-196

Realism and Idealism in Fichte's theory of Subjectivity

Kant's account of subjectivity is ambiguous: there is an implicit critique of Descartes in Kaaat, but this is in conflict with more Cartesian aspects of his approach to subjectivity. Fichte develops the critical elements of Kant and turns them against Kant's residual Cartesianism. Fichte, in the various versions of the Wissenschaftslehre, is the first to be aware of the limitations of the reflective model of consciousness. In those texts he presents his alternative model for subjectivity by trying to conceive of selfconsciousness such that the self-relation makes no separation between thinker and thought. While Fichte's insight into the limitations of the reflective model of consciousness is generally accepted, his own account of the character of the immediate self-relation, which he presents as the alternative to the reflective model, was never satisfactorily resolved. The exposition of Fichte will examine his theory of subjectivity in relation to the central notion of striving; it will be argued that the notion of a striving subject tries to reconcile the dichotomy of idealism and realism.

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