Fichte’s Science of Knowing, 1804, Lecture 1:

1) the only way to understand the Wissenschaftslehre (WL)is through first-person insight

2) in order for this insight to produce itself in us we must first produce the conditions necessary and sufficient for this insight to occur. –> though the conditions must be taken up in the first-person if the insight is to occur, Fichte has not further committed himself to saying that the same insight is needed in order to produce the conditions necessary for its own self-production to arise. On the contrary, Fichte as lecturer can, in addressing the student in the second-person, contribute to catalyzing the student’s own self-producing insight. Thus self-knowledge is partially a social achievement.

3) WL is a species of philosophy.

4) Philosophy is the “presentation of the absolute”.

5) the absolute must be a totality; or else it would cease to be absolute. Hence, the absolute is characterized by a ‘Oneness’ or unity.

6) Any presentation of the absolute, that is, any philosophy worth of the name of truth, must admit no contrary or alternative. In other words, if a philosophy is based on a fundamental principle whose opposite can be asserted or entertained with equal ease and inherent justification then we know automatically that such a philosophy fails as a philosophy because it has not ‘captured’ or adequately ‘represented’ the absolute in its totality.

7) Insofar as the WL’s absolute contains and thematizes its own opposite the WL is the only true philosophy.

8) Contrary to all other philosophies prior to it, the WL posits neither being nor thinking as the absolute but the principle of their unity, namely, that the two terms arise mutually and mutually entail one another. –> Consider the fact that any attempt to think being in its totality that excludes thought from being fails not only to account for thought but also for being, since thought is an aspect of being, or to put it simply, because thought is one of the things that is.

9) The absolute principle of the WL is, therefore, neither the thing nor the knowing but the “oneness of both”.

10) Fichte calls this unity between being and thinking “pure knowing”.

    My comments:

– in order for the WL to succeed as the one true philosophy Fichte must show that it is impossible that the absolute could be either only being or only thought and contradictory for one to posit the absolute as such. Thus, for the WL to be vindicated Fichte must show that both subjective idealism and materialism are impossible.


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