Vital Vision. Ocular Conceptions of Knowledge in Fichte’s Wissenschaftslehre

Abstract: The talk presents Fichte’s post-Kantian project of a comprehensive transcendental philosophy (Wissenschaftslehre) in its general outline, its overall development and its pervasive perspective on the origin, the extent and the limits of knowledge. Particular attention will be devoted to Fichte’s characteristic casting of knowledge in terms of sight and to his portrayal of knowledge as involving the operation of an eye that productively sees things rather than as a mirror that passively reflects them. The final focus of the talk is on the self-enclosed and self-sufficient nature of knowledge as an eye that sees itself and on the ultimate identity of knowledge with the absolute being (“life”) that sustains it. A main text under investigation is a fragmentary work of Fichte’s from 1808 that only recently has come to light and received publication.

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