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Theory of Knowledge

Transcendental Philosophy and Its Specific Demands

Manfred Gawlina

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ABSTRACT: One needs specific initiation into the classics of transcendental philosophy (Kant’s "Criticism," Descartes’s "Metaphysics," and Fichte’s "Doctrine of Science") because all say farewell to the common sense view of things. The three types of transcendental thinking converge in conceiving rational autonomy as the ultimate ground for justification. Correspondingly, the philosophical pedagogy of all three thinkers is focused on how to seize and make that very autonomy (or active self-determination) intellectually and existentially available. In the concrete way of proceeding, however, the three models diverge. Descartes expects one to become master of oneself and "the world" by methodologically suspending his judgement on what cannot qualify itself to be undoubtable. Kant leads us to the point where we can triangulate universal conditions of the possibility of knowledge through individually acquiring the competence to judge the legitimacy of encountered propositional claims. Finally, Fichte confronts us with the idea of the identity of self-consciousness and objectivity. (1)

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Transcending ordinary life and experience to a somewhat higher being is surely not the scope of transcendental philosophy. What the revolutionary achievements of Descartes, Kant, and Fichte have generically in common is to account for the legitimacy of our knowledge claims or, in other words, for the possibility of autonomy. The business of that kind of philosophy is to rationally reconstruct the rightness of judging. For that design the architecture of those authors' theorizing is necessarily opposed to normal experience. (First of all, the common notion of "things affecting us" has to be abandoned.) Transcendental arguments are therefore all but common sense. They are in no respect "realistic" or ontologically dependent. (2) Whoever wants to get familiar with transcendentalism — perhaps just in order to criticize one or several of its representatives — must overcome the threshold of open or covert realism and ordinary experience. One also has to avoid the common misunderstanding that transcendental reconstruction represents a form of idealism. So this kind of philosophy seems to be a fortiori charged to give a good deal of pedagogical help for its own sake. The respective philosophical educations (paideiai) have to fight against the realist as well as the idealist tendencies of interpretation. Positively it is not enough for them to represent what is essential to transcendentalism as a genus; they must particularly transmit what is specific to Kant's "Criticism", to Descartes' "Metaphysics" or to Fichte's "Doctrine of Science".

I. Rene Descartes was the first one to fully realize that reliable orientation could never passively be found in "things" or "institutions". Traditions and customs therefore lost — as such and in principle — every power of obligation. Any content of judgement that was claimed to be true had to prove its rightness through an analysis of its undispensible conditions. Thus the legitimation of knowledge claims could only be attained through representing the structure of knowing itself. For that purpose, the non-formal and non-subjectivistic key to knowlege is, according to Descartes, the cogito, as the action of reflecting on one's own consciousness. Originally the cogito qualifies itself as awareness of insecurity. In the very seizing of that, however, one realizes that our internal scope is not the "entertaining" of that situation of insecurity and scepticism, but absolute certainty. We immediately grasp that such certainty is at our competence, not as a property at our theoretical disposition, but as a task for our acting. Certitude and rationality are thus practically anchored. (3)

An immediate consequence of Descartes' redefining the task of philosophy was the fact that the usual way of presenting problems and of teaching them to students had to be completely reorganized. He thus fought against the usual manuals of philosophy by pouring his results in the shape of an alternative handbook: the Principia Philosophiae. (4) This, however, covers only the external and somewhat strategical (antischolastic) side of his paideia. The inner impact emerges when we take into account that the quest for truth and certainty is not simply of logical or abstractly intellectual value, but becomes by itself existential. Through problematizing and doubt — or in another word: cognitively — Descartes seeks certainty of being. In doing that he addresses inchoatively to everyone in the ordinary world of irreflexivity and prejudice. Through problematical doubting the cogito reaches as its first certain insight: "Nos habere liberum arbitrium, ad cohibendum assensum in dubiis, sicque ad errorem vitandum." From that the main task of Descartes' paideia seems to be particularly to lead the "disciple" — the other I — to a methodology of human existence that makes liberty available in reflective terms and presents reflection as free action: "quae nobis consciis in nobis fiunt, quatenus eorum in nobis conscientia est". (5)

II. The specific character of Kant's approach depends, compared to Descartes and Fichte, on his exceptional negation of any availability of "intellectual intuition" (ultimate non-sensible evidence) for us human beings. Thus the empirical consciousness and natural language are supposed to do, step by step, all the work of justifying reconstruction. This does not imply that the transcendental insight stems from experience or normal language analysis; it says that they are the only "media" accessible (for us) to represent philosophical reasoning. Even his highest theorems, Kant's "I" (his famous "Ich denke, das alle meine Vorstellungen begleiten können muß" or — to put it substantively — "the transcendental apperception"), his "Practical Law", and his architectonic conception of "system", theorems that can all be qualified as "spontaneous", have to be handled and symbolized in those thouroughly empirical terms. Consequently, Kant's pedagogy is first of all supposed to teach the appropriate use of that seemingly modest condition for overall philosophical justification.

Kant's lectures and his book on Anthropology must therefore be seen as containing the most important chapter of his paideia. (It would never suffice to refer to Kant's more technical Pädagogik, which systematically represents a mere derivative of the anthropology.) This is clearly indicated by the adjective in the title Anthropologie in pragmatischer Hinsicht. The "pragmatical respect" must not be misunderstood in the sense of Jewey and Peirce. The expression means: "what a being that can be regarded as capable of free action can by himself make of him and his surroundings". (6) Autonomy never shows itself out of the empirical; nevertheless it is thinkable — conceivable through empirical consciousness — that some part of the empirical, the "maxims" (subjective rules of conduct), can be spontaneously determined according to the formativity of the "Practical Law", the rule of reflexive and therefore unconditioned self-determination. This knowledge is, according to Kant, implicitely present in common consciousness. Therefore it is, in the sign of the formal standard of that common conviction, generally possible to realize the specific transcendental work on those empirical-pragmatic grounds.

We are then supposed to learn — and nowhere else than here lies Kant's "pragmatism"! — not simply to behave in a conditioned way, i. e. technically (this competence is rather trivial and can even be attributed to animals and computers), but to act so that the feasibility of our action agrees structurally with the possibility of the world. As the words show, this is not reducible to an eclusively ethical question. We are there with the general task of and for man's education. It is not enough for us as free beings to cope with intelligent instrumentality, not enough to acquire and perfect some conditioned skills. Our empirically communicated "sapere aude" leads by itself ultimately to the knowledge of the unconditioned, and therefore to the Practical Law. On the triangulated higher level this must not be regarded as an end; it is a new beginning and the true challenge of empirical life: What is opened in general through the Practical Law and by its standard of insight, appeals to us empirical beings for concrete responsible exploration. This again needs the support of paideia. (7)

III. For the early Fichte accounting for the legitimacy of knowledge claims meant no more than analyzing the reflexive (mirrowing in itself) structure of self-consciousness. Later Fichte even stressed the systematicity of reflexivity, but overcame the narrowness of self-consciousness as such. In both periods Fichte's "reflexivity" differs from the conceptions of Kant and Descartes who had only met the "I" reflectively or recursively in the course of philosophical theorizing. For them the cogito or the transcendental apperception only represented one element of the justification of knowledge, surely the most important one, but a "factor" that could not do all the job on its own. (8) Fichte conceives the complex of egoity in so strong a version that the necessary differenciations could be thought appertaining to the transcendental self. Accordingly his paideia reveals the most demanding one. (9) In 1811, after almost twenty years of teaching "Wissenschaftslehre", Fichte had come to a preliminar consensus between himself and his audience on this point: "Daß die W.L. Sie nicht zu einer trivialen Unterhaltung, und zu blosser Wiederholung des Alten[,] längst bekannten eingeladen hat, sondern daß hier in der That Neues, auf diese Weise vor der W.L. nie gedachtes oder ausgesprochenes gelehrt werden soll, ist Ihnen sattsam bekannt; Sie erwarten das, u. Sie selbst würden höchst unzufrieden seyn, wenn Sie in dieser Erwartung getäuscht würden. Daß ein solches neues seine Schwierigkeiten haben werde, bedürfen werde des strengen Zusammenfassens aller Geistesvermögen, und den Besiz derselben in nicht gemeinem Maasse, erwarten Sie ebenfalls." (10)

To make himself more directly intelligible Fichte used to begin his lessons with an invitation to fulfil an action. It should be a mental action, and an action of great simplicity: "Think the wall." Though this is (what could not adequately be seen at that very moment) ultimately a free action, it is almost completely tended to an object and seems to depend entirely on that very "thing", the wall. Sentences of that kind are imperatives of normal pedagogy, and they are still common sense. The philosophical education commences with the following order: "Now, think that one, who has thought the wall." (11) At first glance this seems to be another teacher-induced empirical action, belonging to inner observation instead of outer. But Fichte wants to show something totally different from that, in fact: no-thing at all, no more "representation", but a special quality of action: the acting of action itself, real spontaneity, concrete freedom. His verbal sign for it is since 1793/94: "Thathandlung". (12)

For Fichte the reflexivity of the I means nothing else than acting in its spontaneous return in itself. The action that seizes immediately its own self lits, in doing so, the non-sensible "light" that proves the certainty of that principle: intellectual intuition. In the same moment it is qualified as founding every kind of knowledge, as it determines the very structure of knowing as such. Insofar as these theorems conceptually contain "action" and "spontaneity" they can only be understood through spontaneously grasping them. Such an act even transcends the cognitive value of any concept of the I. For its legitimation any conceptualization (and in the narrow sense: any "theory") of the self depends on fulfilling that supreme act. For Fichte, this is what makes philosophical education so important and so difficult all the same. In ordinary life we are not familiar with acting but only with its results (products and institutions) to which belongs also the external, empirical side of acting, i. e.: behaving. Fichte had that in mind when he wrote to Jacobi: "Wir werden durch unsere natürliche Geburt keineswegs in eine Welt der Wahrheit, sondern in eine Schatten- und Nebel-Welt hineingeboren." (13) It can even be expected that — as he put it  — "people can more easily be lead to take themselves for a bit of lava on the moon than an I", because that status would not require the overcoming of the biased ordinary view of an ontology of persons as outstanding things. (14) The almost superhuman problems paideia has to cope with are implied in both statements. It also shows the two generally possible values of pedagogy (whether philosophical or not): to serve as a (manipulating) tool to make people believe conditionedly "useful" things (here lies the possibilty of perverting philosophy into ideology); or to be an analytical and therefore rationally free method to guide them to reflexive consciousness of what they fundamentally are.

There might be objected that this kind of philosophical initiation only caracterizes Fichte's so-called Wissenschaftslehre nova methodo, the period from 1797 to 1801, where the "new way" of exhibiting his doctrine seems to have been directly modified by his students' (and the public's) reactions on his former handbook (!) Grundlage der gesamten Wissenschaftslehre (1794/95). In the latter he began with an analysis of formal identity, and later, in 1804, with presupposing truth as already relevant for any research. Yet it can be shown that those alternatives also imply acting. Fichte never gave up a standard of insight that he had gained. His Nova methodo can be easily interpreted as the unfolding of "Thathandlung" that had, together with "intellectual intuition", already been largely elaborated at the end of 1793. (15)

The modest or tender beginnings of Fichte's paideia, as we have briefly described them above, are bound to lead to the insight that acting (as practical reflexitiy) does not only explain pure self-consciousness in its narrow sense. By means of that very acting Fichte accounts for the status of objectivity of the possible judgements, and he deduces the relation of a singular "you" to another sigular "I". If we call Fichte's highest theorem of acting Fichte's "self" ("Pono me existentem, ergo existo. Nicht cogito, ergo sum."), (16) we can say that subject-objectivity and interpersonality are analytical developments of the "I". (17) Paideia therefore has to be busy with the original insight in acting itself (the student has to enter the very grounding of the whole architecture) as well as the two immediately following tasks, i. e. to make particular objective knowledge and personal relations (as constitutive for such knowledge acts!) intelligible. From that it has to be shown that empirical self-consciousness is merely an object of (rather insecure) knowledge and has relatively little to do with the certain reflexivity of acting itself. Fichte's I therefore does not belong to the private. It is not responsible for individuality, but for the universality of the universal. The essence of interpersonality is therefore primarily the entire structure of action or, to put it in another word, reason. The acting condition of reflexivity immediately proves the underlying unity of all those who are, each for himself, able to identify themselves as an "I". (18) Nevertheless, as the transcendental I opens itself positively to the empirical (and so to the accidental), paideia must also try to rationally integrate the individual in the interpersonal relation as such. (19)

IV. The main obstacle for proper paideia seems to be language, because of its inherent tendency to "reify" action. (20) Language seduces us to think in a primarily ontological way. We cannot but ask "what is ...?" and thus substantivize our "object". We are seeking for a whatness and expect to meet a being. Even the logical and "neutrally" formal use of some cardinal terms, like "is", "-ness" (i. e. classification) and "essence", tacitly leads to an ontological view. Now the problem consists in the unavoidability of language (whether ordinary or artificial), because it is the only "medium" to communicate with philosophical beginners or even to continuously recommence and entertain any apodictically intended dialogue. (That "double-bind" of language or the use of signs (semiotics) seems to correspond to the two general values of pedagogy.)

V. The more concrete aspects of Fichte's paideia (and among them its idea of perfection) depend no less on that I- or reflexitiy-conception of interpersonality. In a time of political crisis (in October 1806 Napoleon had defeated Germany's most powerful state, Prussia), Fichte developed a plan of reorganizing and fully initiating public education. Concerning the empirical side, his main purpose was to strengthen political common sense and commonwealth. (21) The means for it was "knowledge". The people and politicians should become acquainted with Reason's own unbroken and undistorted "image" to be able to judge and decide rightly in the particular situation of life. As the university is no school for "Wissenschaftslehre" only, Fichte does not propound a direct path to the transcendental kowledge itself (which is to be seen as containing the principles for all specific sciences, as for instance politics and jurisprudence), but a general formation of the understanding. (22) This formation is no mechanical training, either. It means free exercising. Fichte's word for it is "Kunst" — the "art" of learning how to judge consciously (in other words: how to grasp the modes of reflexivity of judging). (23) The forming of the art of understanding is an intersubjective preparation for the step into pure kowledge itself. (24) From both "activities" the rather immediate benefits on political life and public opinion are evident.

The political aims of public paideia are not reduced to particular communities. By its interpersonal nature even "national education" teleologically tends further on to the unconditioned. So notwithstanding its partly historically given interests and goals it is intrinsically open to larger modes of cooperation and integration. In that sense Fichte's politics are inter-cultural and universalistic. His "nations" are — through the speakers' competence of taking an active part in public discussion — somewhat linguistically constituted; for that reason they always remain dynamic. Ultimately, however, Fichte's politics by themselves transcend even that global dimension expecting the fulfilment of intersubjective communication in nothing less than the "Realm of God". (25) We have to study the late Staatslehre (from 1813) to seize the highest scope, the self-abolishing perfection, of his paideia. (26)

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(1) My thanks go to the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung, Bonn, and to the Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Filosofici, Naples, for their kind support as well as to Erika Levi for her linguistic help. As concerns Fichte the editors of the Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften generously gave me the opportunity to use still unpublished manuscripts. I am particularly thankful to Professor Reinhard Lauth and to Professor Werner Beierwaltes.

(2) Cf. Manfred Gawlina: Das Medusenhaupt der Kritik. Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter 1996. = Kantstudien-Erg„nzungshefte, vol. 128. The book argues that an epistemology like that of Kant is incompatible with an ontology like that of Leibniz as the two approaches contradict one another.

(3) For the most part, the actual research on Descartes, especially in France and the Anglo-Saxon world, ignores the transcendentality of Descartes' system. (In Germany, Descartes is generally ignored as a whole.) The fact that Descartes partly fell back from his own standard of insight may never excuse this socially and psychologically remarkable phenomenon. In a forthcoming book, intitled Descartes' Konzeption des Systems der Philosophie, Reinhard Lauth will contribute to correct that one-sided view. It must be added that even Kant and Fichte were not aware of the true caracter of Descartes' approach. Kant interpreted the latter's cogito as essentially empirical. Neither Kant nor Fichte seized Descartes' theory of truth, which is closely interwoven with his cogito. (Fichte seems to owe to K. L. Reinhold a better kowledge of Descartes than he could attain from the lecture of Kant's works.)

(4) Renati Des-Cartes Principia Philosophiae. Ristampa anastatica dell'edizione 1644 eseguita in occasione del 350ø della pubblicatione. Lecce: Conte editore 1994. (In its first part, this book summarizes the philosophical research of Descartes' Meditationes, his Regulae ad directionem ingenii and his Discours de la méthode.) As to the external pedagocigal question I recommend the contributions of J.-M. Beyssade and R. Ariew in the volume Descartes: Principia Philosophiae (1644-1994), edited by Jean-Robert Armogathe and Giulia Belgioioso, Naples: Vivarium 1996. = Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Filosofici, Bibliotheca Europea, vol. 10. Especially I refer to pages 17-18 and 625-628.

(5) Descartes: Principia. Pars prima. De principiis cognitionis humanae; priciples six and nine.

(6) My paraphrasing of a sentence of Kant's Anthropologie, Akademie-Textausgabe, Berlin 1968, vol. VII, p. 119, l. 13-14. Kant's Pedagogy is to be found in vol. IX.

(7) Kant's Practical Law originally has a wider meaning than specifically "Moral" or "Ethical Law". Therefore one may call it just "Praxis". Any technique can only be thought as rationally justified when governed by Praxis. What we generally (but falsely) title as "praxis" (or "practical") is in fact technical behaviour. - Some consequences of that interpretation on the topics of communication and institutional communication are developed in my contribution to the XVIIth German Congress of Philosophy (vol. II, edited by Christoph Hubig and Hans Poser, Leipzig 1996, p. 1326-1333).

(8) We use the following symbols: WL for Wissenschaftslehre (=Doctrine of Science). FG for: Erich Fuchs (ed.): Fichte im Gespräch. 7 volumes. Stuttgart 1978-1992; GA for: J.G.Fichte Gesamtausgabe der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Edited by Reinhard Lauth and Hans Gliwitzky. Actually 30 volumes. Stuttgart 1964-1998 (ongoing). SW for: Fichtes Werke. 11 volumes. Reprint of J. G. Fichtes sämmlichte Werke and J. G. Fichtes nachgelassene Werke. Both edited by Immanuel Hermann Fichte (8 volumes, Berlin 1845-46; 3 volumes, Bonn 1834-35). Berlin 1971.

(9) Also in Fichte's case our topic is not the conception of general pedagogy. Nevertheless it should be noted that young Fichte had worked as a private teacher in Leipzig and Zurich, and that he kept a lifelong intense relation to the great reformer of pedagogy, Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi. The quality of their relation is well illustrated by a letter of Pestalozzi to Fichte's wife Marie Johanne, from 1809, GA III,6 p. 290-202. On p. 291 we can read: "Sagen Sie Ihrem Fichte, daß ich die Größe des Verdienstes, das er um mich hat, in seinem ganzen Umfange erkenne." Cf. GA II,1 p. 104 (remark on Pestalozzi's Lienhard und Gertrud) and again, many years later, GA II,9 p. 436-442. Cf. also GA II,7 p. 12-22: Fichte's Aphorismen über Erziehung.

(10) J. G. Fichte: WL 1811, manuscript (in orginal orthography), still unpublished, p. 15 recto; beginning of Fichte's lecture from Monday, February 18th.

(11) From a report of Steffens, in: FG II p. 8 (document 676). For (much) more detail see Fichte: Versuch einer neuen Darstellung der Wissenschaftslehre (published 1797/98), GA I,4 p. 183-281; especially p. 199/200; p. 213-217; p. 202 and p. 211 note (explanation of the object and the common sense picture). Cf. the parallel text (notes of Fichte's oral teaching!) of volume IV,2; especially p. 32 ("Der WL § 1"). (As to the pedagogic motive of the "wall" cf. GA II,9 p. 359.)

(12) Fichte: Züricher Vorlesungen über den Begriff der Wissenschaftslehre. Nachschrift Lavater. Edited by Erich Fuchs. Neuried 1996; p. 77 and 79. "Tathandlung" is opposed to "Tatsache (des Bewuátseins)". See Fichte's brief sketch of the whole enterprise of transcendental reconstruction nova methodo (i. e. fully on the basis of acting) in GA I,4 p. 174: "[E]ine andere Methode ist: wenn man sich gleich von Anfang [an] eine Hauptaufgabe vorsetzt und dieselbe durch mittelbare Sätze zu lösen sucht. [...] Unsere Hauptaufgabe war: Wie kann sich das Ich als real tätig finden. Diese suchten wir durch den mittelbaren Sätz zu lösen: ich handle nur inwiefern ich mir einen Zweckbegriff entwerfe." The formulation concerning the philosophical "main task" is not, as it might seem, circular in a vicious sense: Any consequent analysis of being "tätig" necessarily reveals the in itself active structure of I-ness. That very activity implies the "projecting" of ends.

(13) From Fichte's last letter to Jacobi, 3.5.1810, GA III,6 p. 330. Marco Ivaldo recently published a monography on Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, an author who played an important rôle in the settling of German classical philosophy. With great success Ivaldo tries to understand his entire philosophical work from a transcendental point of view: M. Ivaldo: Filosofia delle cose divine. Saggio su Jacobi. Brescia 1996.

(14) "Die meisten Menschen würden leichter dahin zu bringen seyn, sich für ein Stück Lava im Monde, als für ein Ich zu halten." (GA I,2 p. 326). As Fichte's "fundamentality" lies in acting, the ontological interpretation of Fichte, as it was professed by Martin Heidegger, cannot hit the point; see: Heidegger: Der deutsche Idealismus (Fichte, Schelling, Hegel) und die philosophische Problemlage der Gegenwart. Frankfurt: V. Klostermann 1997.= M. Heidegger Gesamtausgabe, vol. II, 28; especially p. 49-182.

(15) FG I p. 63-64 (doc. 70). Cf. also Baggesen's sceptical turn, FG I p. 451 (from doc. 556, august 1797): "Das Vorurtheil aller Vorurtheile der Menschheit ist die Philosophie."

(16) From Fichte's Eigne Meditationen über [Reinholds] ElementarPhilosophie, GA II,3 p. 91. This formulation gives a positive critique of Descartes' "ie pense, donc ie suis" (p. 33 of his Discours de la methode [...], original edition, Leyde 1637). Fichte's very important modification can only be adequately understood through Baggesen's reports (and commentary!) on that topic of Fichtean teaching (december 1793). Baggesen's testimonies are accessible as documents number 74 and 74a of: FG I p. 67-68 and VI,1 p. 26-27.

(17) GA I,3 p. 253, p. 255 ("Das Ich [...] als Subject=Object;"); GA I,4 p. 254-258.

(18) See the closing of Fichte's Zurich speech (Über die Würde des Menschen) at the end of his first circle of lessons on WL (april 1794), GA I,2 p. 88-89. The transcendental meaning of Fichte's emphatic expression "Ich bin!" has to be explored with the help of the above mentioned reformulation of Descartes' cogito (together with Baggesen's extremely important testimonies!).

(19) Fichte: Staatslehre (1812). SW IV p. 585.

(20) Fichte expresses himself the most drastically in his WL 18042, GA II,8 p. 229, p. 23 and p. 25, p. 231. See also Fichte's letter to von Moshamm (GA III,5 p. 238-243). The (partly) transcendental philosopher Salomon Maimon has alternatively held a less "pessimistic" view of language on behalf of opening philosophical insight. Compared to Fichte (both men were contemporaries), the position of Maimon also implies a difference in the meaning of paideia.

(21) GA III,6 p. 212.

(22) I mainly refer to Fichte's Deducirter Plan einer zu Berlin zu errichtenden höheren Lehranstalt. SW VIII p. 97-204. According to the Zurich lectures (see above) the supreme "Thathandlung" of knowing as such offers the ground for the teleologic determination of all the special disciplins.

Let me add that in the beginning of the 19th century Fichte's academic reform plans remained unfulfilled. There were two opposite conceptions, that of Friedrich August Wolf (purely technical and pragmatical) and Wilhelm von Humboldt (GA III,6 p. 299). The second one was finally adopted by Prussia and late the whole Germany (in both cases with certain modifications). Wilhelm von Humbold's view can no more be called interpersonal (in that point he seems to be clearly separated from his brother Alexander's attitude). It is easy to see the political impacts of the alternative pedagogical models: Wolf's pragmatism cooperates with almost every factual power (it even implicitely conceives politics as a mere play of power), Humboldt's design sees itself as politically neutral but that noble absence again tends to support the mere pragmatic of power.

(23) From the newly published sixth volume of Fichte's correspondence (=GA III,6), the letters from 1806 to 1810, we learn that a certain "Wagner" (!) propounded the idea of political and national (and even social) renewal primarily by the means of the Fine Arts. This conception, inspired by Schiller, was rebuffed by Fichte.

(24) SW VIII p. 103 (§ 7); p. 114-116 (the broad eduction of the "common" people serves as real precondition for the reciprocity of political judging); p. 110 (the free exercising of art means nothing else than rooting one's life in the idea; that represents the precondition for true knowledge).

(25) Luc Ferry and Alain Renaut, the most important actual analysts of Fichte's politics are bracketing out that absolute dimension. Pedagogically this is understandable, as Fichte's talk about "God" presupposes even more deeply the abandoning of any dogmatically idealist or "realist" interpretation.

(26) SW IV p. 582-592, p. 600; on p. 590 we find a direct reference to Pestalozzi. See already Fichte's Ueber den Grund unsers Glaubens an eine göttliche WeltRegierung (GA I,5 p. 347-357; especially p. 354-355). The texts of Fichte's mature Staatslehre and of his late Rechtslehre (1812) will soon be published by us in a purified version. We now know that the actually available versions (edited by Immanuel Hermann Fichte or Richard Schottky) are not always correct. Therefore a definitive judgement on Fichte's philosophy of right and politics is not yet possible. Moreover both disciplines reveal their theorematically outstanding rank by the fact that Fichte explicitely reelaborated them in the course of his giving a full "counterproof" ("Gegenprobe") of his entire transcendental approach in his last five Wissenschaftslehren (1810-1814). Concerning that objectively passioning (and subjectively very demanding) task of research, see my article: "J.G.Fichte. Perspektiven philosophischer Forschung gemäß dem Fortschritt der J.G.Fichte-Gesamtausgabe." In: Einsichten. Forschung an der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München 1997/1 p. 34-37.

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