Fichte’s Science of Knowing, 1804, Lecture 7:

1) A brief account of the rules according to which the disjunction we will have to make proceeds:

  • the disjunction is a disjunction into principles, with each principle being at once a principle of unity and of disjunction. –> note the fractal structure of this process.
  • this disjunction provides a deduction from the above process to what Fichte calls a “general schema of the total empirical domain according to its genetic principle.” (p.62)
  • For us the oneness beyond is nothing in itself, although it is posited as in itself; rather it exists only through the light and in the light, and (is) its projection.” (ibid.)

2) “When we observe the light, the light is objectified, alienated from us and killed as something primordial. We have explained [only] what is materially attributed to the light in this observation.” (ibid.) –> since, when we contemplate the light we necessarily survey it in the ‘form’ of object, and since what is object is only one of the disjuncts of the principle which is manifest in the light, we should know and can know a priori that this image of the light is not a true likeness of the light. We have left something out, something essential, namely, the “observing itself.”

3) When we explain (and no longer merely observe) this observing itself in its “inner form” we no longer look to what it contains and leads to but how itself inwardly occurs. This is what Fichte calls “rising to to its principle”. It become clear that:

  • the light is in us (in what we are and what we do when we and in order to observe it) but not immediately in us but via a representative proxy [i.e. the subjective disjunct] which objectifies and so kills it.
  • since there can be no representative nor a representation without what is represented we move from explaining the observed by citing the act of observation as its genetic principle, to observing the subject-object at work in this image, to explaining (or accounting for, grounding) the primordial disjunction into subject-object.
  • Thus, we have now not only factical manifestness (at the objective, subjective, and subjective-objective levels) but also conceptual manifestness which, when thought, thinks itself, and “has essence, spirit, and meaning and is fully and completely self-identical and unchangeable in relation to this essence.” (p.63)

4) It is irrelevant whether we start with the representation and move to the represented or if we grasp first what is to be represented and then derive the representation. We do not think two different things in these two concepts, but think one and the same concept. Meditate on the import of this, the irrelevance of the arrangement of these moments. It is the synthesis in act. Not the activity of any one subject but the activity in which and through which subjectivity emerges in the first place. This structure (which, as concept is just structuredness itself) occurs spontaneously. When grasped in this way, the absolute leaves nothing out of its own manifestation, it “remains unaltered as oneness but…splits itself only in the vital fulfillment of thinking into an inessential disjunction, which neither spoils the content in any way nor is grounded in it.” (ibid.) –> when the unity is thought in this way the splitting of itself that occurs in the thinking of it is its own fulfillment.

5) The concept is recognized truthfully as the primordial concept or Urbegriff because what we have taken hitherto as the source of the absolutely self-sufficient actually first “arise in the way it appears” as one of the disjunctive terms of the concept. Therefore, the concept is actually “more original” than the light itself. –> mediation is more immediate than (intuitive) immediacy.

6) “Now the same single concept grounds its appearance through its own essential being; therefore, in this concept the image and what it images are posited absolutely, things which are constructed organically only through one another. And hence its appearance announces, and is the exponent of, its inner being, as an organic unity of the through-one-another [Durcheinander], which must be presupposed.” (p.64)

7) Image posits imaged and imaged posits image. They posit each other and so arise through-one-another.

8) “I ask about the truth itself, which we recognize as being and remaining true even if no one saw it, and we ask: Is it not true in itself that the image entails something imaged and vice versa?, And, in this case, what exactly is true in itself?…[W]hat common element remains behind as the condition for the whole exchange? Obviously only the through-one-another that initially holds together every inference.” (p.65)

9) The focal point is the concept. Not just any concept. The concept of and as a pure-enduring through-one-another in living appearance.

10) The appearance is the side of disjunction. The living (or the “livingness”) is the side of unity. However, if what appears is unity then the livingness takes on the appearance of disjunction. And if what appears is disjunction, then the livingness functions as the unity. “Only through life to the concept and only through the concept to life.” (p.66)


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