Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762 - 1814) Zijn geworstel met Spinoza

Fichte hoef ik uiteraard niet te introduceren. Hij is wel eens genoemd in een blog - speelde zijn rol in de Pantheismusstreit. Maar aan een apart blog over hem was ik nog nooit toegekomen en daarvan zou het wellicht ook niet snel komen, want ik kan me niet met alles bezig houden. Daarom los ik dat zo op:

N.a.v. de bespreking op de NPDR van het hierna genoemde boek, waarin Spinoza niet voorkomt, hetgeen niet verwonderlijk blijkt, daar in het betreffende boek Spinoza niet als belangrijk voor Fichte voorkomt. Hij wordt slecht drie keer genoemd en met name wordt vermeld hoe Fichte in Spinoza de meest consistente dogmaticus zag. Het gaat om dit boek, waaruit we over Fichte’s geworstel met Spinoza niets leren.

Daniel Breazeale, Thinking Through the Wissenschaftslehre: Themes from Fichte's Early Philosophy. Oxford University Press, 2013 – books.google

    

Daarvoor moeten we elders terecht, om te beginnen bij de onvolprezen

Frederick C. Beiser, The Romantic Imperative: The Concept of Early German Romanticism. Harvard University Press, 2003 – books.google

Beiser legt het accent op incompatibilities tussen Fichte en Spinoza. Het belangrijkste verschil is wel dat Fichte het ego tot z'n absolutum maakte, waar voor Spinoza de natuur (of God) als het absolutum gold: twee onverenigbare oneindige realiteiten... Hij vergelijkt hun ‘verhouding’ heel fraai met een huwelijk: “Just like ideal wedding partners, Fichte and Spinoza were perfect complements in an indissoluble whole." [p. 131  

Het was Friedrich von Schelling die het onverenigbare meende te kunnen verzoenen door in Über den wahren Begriff der Naturphilosophie und die richtige Art ihre Probleme aufzulösen (1801) met z'n 'ontdekking' te komen dat het Ego van Fichte identiek is met het Deus sive Natura van Spinoza. [cf.*] Een schitterende onmogelijke figuur...  

In plaats van op hun onverenigbaarheden, kun je uiteraard ook letten op wat bij hen dan zo overeenkwam en waarin Spinoza Fichte aanvulde, waardoor ze toch "bij elkaar bleven." Daarvoor kunnen we voor een deel terecht in het al eerder in dit blog vermeldde:

Eckart Förster and Yitzhak Melamed (eds.), Spinoza and German Idealism. Cambridge University Press, 2012 – books.google

Met daarin het hoofdstuk van Johannes Haag, Chapter 6 – “Fichte on the consciousness of Spinoza’s God” [pp. 100-120].
Extract:
Fichte criticizes Spinoza’s philosophy in the context of his famous introduction of the original Thathandlung at the beginning of his Grundlage der gesammten Wissenschaftslehre from 1794: in some (all too short) remarks Fichte not only provides us with a convincing reason for the distinctiveness of God’s thinking from our own in terms of the distinction between pure and empirical consciousness, but is furthermore able to indicate that this reason points to a decisive shortcoming of the Spinozistic system.

To understand this we have to investigate Fichte’s reasoning concerning the conditions of empirical consciousness, and the self-consciousness presupposed in this kind of empirical consciousness. In so doing I will lay the foundation for my later argument that will build on the specific understanding of the Thathandlung, i.e., the original positing of a self as itself, as introduced by Fichte in the first section, shortly before the remarks on Spinoza. But it is not only the original Thathandlung that will be of great importance for understanding Fichte’s criticism of Spinoza; another Fichtean concept, namely the concept of intellectual intuition, will prove of considerable consequence: it will play a decisive role in understanding the reasoning that leads Fichte to diagnose shortcomings in Spinoza’s philosophy.” [Cf.]

En het hoofdstuk van Allen Wood, Chapter 7 - Fichte on freedom [pp. 121-135].
Extract: “
Johann Gottlieb Fichte is usually regarded as a follower of Kant, and he regarded himself that way too. Above all, what Fichte thought he had learned from Kant was to affirm a radical freedom of the will, rejecting all forms of mechanistic determinism, necessitarianism, or fatalism, based on the primacy of the practical standpoint over the theoretical. But Fichte did not encounter Kant’s philosophy until 1790, when he was twenty-eight years old. Although he had yet to publish anything, and his encounter with Kant’s philosophy occasioned a “conversion” of sorts, he already had a set of fully formed views, and the evidence is that they had been strongly influenced by Spinoza. The earliest text published by Fichte’s son Immanuel Hermann in the edition of his father’s works of 1845–1846 was a short fragment, dated 1790 and given the title Aphorisms on Religion and Deism. The ‘deistic’ position it puts forward is strikingly Spinozistic. Fichte claims that there is an eternal God, whose existence and action are both necessary, out of whose thoughts the world and all the occurrences in it arise just as necessarily as the existence of the Deity itself, and hence that all human sensations, thoughts, and actions are therefore also necessary (FW 5:6–7).

We can’t avoid being struck by the diametrical opposition between these necessitarian views and the later views about freedom for which Fichte is famous. The imminent change in Fichte’s position also provides the occasion for reflecting on some general truths about the way one philosopher may influence another. On the one hand, the influenced philosopher may take over doctrines, either wholly or in a modified form, from the influencing philosopher. But on the other, what the influenced philosopher takes over from the influencing philosopher may not be doctrines as much as issues, dilemmas, or perplexities. And sometimes the precise and emphatic way one philosopher rejects the position of an earlier one is testimony to the depth of this second kind of influence. In such a case, the influenced philosopher may also directly borrow from the doctrines of the influencing philosopher when it comes to the way philosophical questions are conceived, and that may be precisely what determines the contrasting answers to them. My aim in this chapter is to explore a few of the more prominent and decisive ways in which these last generalities may be illustrated by the relation between Spinoza and Fichte regarding freedom of the will. [Cf.]

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Een jaar later verscheen:

Dalia Nassar, The Romantic Absolute: Being and Knowing in Early German Romantic Philosophy, 1795-1804. University of Chicago Press, 2013 - books.google
En ook dat zit uiteraard vol Spinoza. Dat had ik al een blog gesignaleerd.  

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Tenslotte verwijs ik naar de volgende dissertatie (er valt nog veel te lezen…)

Alexandre Guilherme, Fichte and Schelling: the Spinoza connection. Doctoral thesis, Durham University, 2007 – cf. en rechtstreeks PDF

Hardcopy: Saarbrücken, VDM Verlag Dr. Muller Aktiengesellschaft & Co. KG, 2009 

 

Uit het abstract: “The influence of Spinoza on Post-Kantian Idealism has been acknowledged by virtually all commentators in the area. Much research on the influence of Spinoza on Hegel has been already carried out by many of Hegel's commentators in both the Continental and Anglo- American tradition, and Hegel himself wrote a great deal on Spinozism. Detailed research and study on the influence of Spinoza on Fichte and Schelling, however, is still to be carried out in the Anglo-American tradition; and this situation is in contrast to the current scenario in Germany, where much effort has been devoted to this topic. Commentators in the Anglo-American tradition acknowledge the influence of some of Spinoza's views on Fichte's and Schelling's respective projects but fail to provide a detailed account of this influence. This thesis will attempt to help fill in the gap in this area by providing a detailed study of the influence of Spinozism on Fichte and Schelling. This will be done by drawing parallels and by demonstrating similarities between some of their philosophical views, as well as referring to textual evidence where Fichte and Schelling acknowledge, overtly or not, their debt to Spinoza. […]  Finally, in this abstract I find it important to draw the reader's attention to a few issues. My sympathies with, or antipathies to, the various positions taken by the authors I discuss will no doubt be apparent as the thesis unfolds. And it could be said that this thesis is primarily intended as an exercise in the history, influence and study of some conceptual views particular to Spinozism, and as such it shall be of great interest to metaphysicians. But in doing so this thesis will also set the background for a proper understanding of Fichte's and Schelling's philosophical systems - this is an important point as there is a tendency in philosophical and academic circles to 'box in' philosophical systems as if these systems were self-contained and bore no connection with previous philosophical systems; moreover, there is also a tendency in these circles not to appreciate the legacy of philosophical systems either. As such, this thesis aims to help correcting this situation insofar as Spinoza, Fichte and Schelling are concerned - but it can be also viewed as a template for similar research in connection to other philosophical systems. It is also intended that the interpretations of Fichte and Schelling in the light of their Spinozism, which I propose will be useful to other scholars in their attempt to critically appraise the writings of these important figures.

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* Betreft G.W.F. Hegel, The Difference Between Fichte's and Schelling's System of Philosophy: An English Translation of G. W. F. Hegel’s Differenz des Fichte’schen und Schelling’schen Systems der Philosophie. Walter Cerf, H. S. Harris (Eds.)