Fichte’s Science of Knowing, 1804, Lecture 4:

1) The results so far: knowing is beyond all change and beyond the subject-object distinction.

2) This knowledge of knowing – in its factical manifestness – is only the “premise” of the WL. Still needed is the active element, i.e. the construction of this unchangeable being.

3) Once the construction is accomplished, the second term, change, will also have been established.

4) Mere genesis is only pure activity (one term); however, determinate genesis is what results when we have grasped knowing in its factical and in its genetic forms.

5) We are the inward realization of the oneness of this unity. –> it is important to keep in mind that Fichte is no longer merely discussing the unity of Being and Thinking but is now talking about the unity of the unity of B and T and the activity that is their-being-held-apart.
x y z * B-T

6) Since any reconstruction is also a conceiving, and any conception takes the form of factical manifestness, any reconstruction of this process fails to conceive what it must, namely genetic manifestness, hence insofar as the genetic principle is conceived it is conceived as inconceivable. But this does not mean we can have no knowledge of it. “The absolute is not intrinsically inconceivable, since this makes no sense; it is inconceivable only when the concept itself tries for it, and this inconceivability is its only property”. –> Compare to Wittgenstein’s ‘showing’. See also Graham Priest on the ineffable.

7) This kind of knowing, by reconstruction of the concept in the concept, is secondary knowing or consciousness and can only attain to the level of the moment of division in which pure knowing splits itself up into A, *, x y z, and B-T.

8) Empirically, we never escape the principle of division (in what is surveyed in consciousness) but we can go beyond this moment intellectually “with regard to what is valid in itself”.

9) Now, although the moment of construction or genetic manifestness negates the feigning of totality by the moment of factical manifestness, it would equally be a mistake to allow the moment of construction to lay claim to the throne of totality. Fichte was himself accused of making this mistake in his earlier work. “The construction as such is denied by the manifestness of what exists autonomously; thus even the inconceivable, as the inconceivable and nothing more, is posited by this manifestnesss, posited through the negation of the absolute concept, which must be posited just so that it can be annulled.” (p. 42)

10) The self-sufficient quality of the absolute is alien to knowing-as-consciousness, but it is, nevertheless, known. How so? In immediate manifestness, neither solely in factical manifestness nor soley in genetic manifestness (as these moments are conceived in consciousness), but within intuition or, what Fichte here calls pure light. Pure light is Fichte’s name for the absolute as it is known in intuition, not as concept. Hence the use of a metaphor to express the idea.

11) Pure light posits the concept only to negate the concept and in so doing, reveals itself as the principle of both the concept’s manifestness and its destruction. “Pure light has prevailed…as the principle of both being and the concept.” (p.43)

12) As pure light we know ourselves only mediately by first positing the concept and then negating it. We have to do this because we need to know ourselves immediately as immanent, as subjectivity in action, as I; and we need to know ourselves emmanently, as object, as reason.

13) Pure light knows itself in a three- or five-fold synthesis: “Thus, it must be constructed as oscillating from a to b [1] and again from b to a [2] and as completely creating both [3]; thus as oscillating between the twofold oscillation [i.e. between [4] (a to b vs. b to a) and [5] between (a to b vs. b to a) and (a to b) vs. (b to a).]–> in other words, each oscillation between poles becomes itself a new pole from which to oscillate with the previous, lower level of oscillation. Strange, yes. Mad? Maybe.


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