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Marx v Fichte

Saturday, 29 June 2024 at 23:05

Marx-Spinoza on Dr John Dunn. Spinoza and Marx on the same page

Marx v Fichte

Hegel is to be credited with being the first to be fully conscious of the need of a new logic to solve the problem of experience. Marx understood this. However, Hegel’s dialectic supplemented Spinoza’s philosophy rather than superseded it, confirming Spinoza’s thinking rather than discrediting it. More important was Hegel’s break with Fichte, who rejected Spinozism. Marx clearly saw the Spinoza in Hegel. As a result, Hegel was easily turned on his head by Marx, i.e. re-Spinozised. Hegel was not Marx’s main target in this act of inversion. By upturning Hegel,Marx rebutted Fichte’s inversion of Spinoza.

© John Dunn.

Freedom not an end in itself

Friday, 28 June 2024 at 22:33

Fichte's portrait on Dr John Dunn. Freedom as understood by Fichte

Freedom not an end in itself

Freedom was not for Fichte an end in itself, or something to be found in nature. It was certainly not a return to anything that once existed. Freedom meant an independence from nature. Only then would there be scope for the spontaneous and creative activity, which Dante had held analogous to that of the first Creator in whose image man was made - the creative activity that distinguished man from beasts and deified the Absolute I as God-like. Only with such freedom ‘could a new equality arise - a uniform progress of culture in all individual men’. Rousseau’s reduction of humanity to ‘a race of animals’ was the threat to be confronted. After all, a bestial docility was not altogether undesirable to those who would exploit the productive capacity of such ‘free’ individuals. The return to nature in Rousseau was a Spinozist and kabbalistic ‘return’.

© John Dunn.

Anti-Rousseau Fichte

Thursday, 27 June 2024 at 22:23

Picture of Rousseau on Dr John Dunn. Anti-Rousseau Fichte

Fichte consciously opposed his ideas to those of Rousseau, arguing that for Rousseau, ‘the advancement of culture is the sole cause of all human depravity. According to him there is no salvation for man but in a State of Nature...’ The vices of society might cease to exist in such a condition, ‘but with it, Virtue and Reason too would be destroyed. Man becomes an irrational creature; there is a new race of animals, and men no longer exist’.

© John Dunn.

Subject Nature to Reason

Wednesday, 26 June 2024 at 23:34

Anti-Spinozist Fichte on Dr John Dunn. Fichte, the anti-Spinozist philosopher

Subject Nature to Reason

Like many a young romantic, Fichte had once embraced the seemingly liberating possibilities of the French Revolution. It was, however, his rejection of Spinozism that led to his rightward interpretation of events. He did not view equality, the rights of man, universal brotherhood and perpetual peace as ends in themselves. His egalitarian concern was to release the full potentialities of each individual in order that a common moral end could be most effectively pursued. ‘The aim of all culture of human capacity’, he wrote in the Vocation of the Scholar, ‘is to subject Nature... to Reason’.

© John Dunn.

To be human, even divine

Tuesday, 25 June 2024 at 22:24

Fichte image on Dr John Dunn. Johann Gottlieb Fichte

To be human, even divine

Even so, to act upon the world was more than a moral purpose for Fichte, it was by definition what it meant to be human at all, even divine. He sometimes referred to the concept of the Absolute I as God and at other times as pure rational and spontaneous activity. From this standpoint, to hold to a Spinozist passivity was to expunge the Absolute I and bring about the death of the incarnated God. The preservation of humanity’s moral destiny against the threat of deterministic genocide was therefore the duty of everyone who considered himself fully human. Failure to inculcate the benefits of an actively moral culture into each member of society served not only to dehumanise those individuals, but also to endanger the human race as a whole. This destruction of man was the fear that Fichte expressed in The Vocation of the Scholar.

© John Dunn.

Fichte's inversion of Spinoza changed everything

Monday, 24 June 2024 at 22:11

Spinoza wrong way up on Dr John Dunn. Fichte's inversion of Spinoza changed everything

F.H. Jacobi (1743-1819), an obsessive Spinozist, saw in Spinoza’s ‘novel conception of God, the way toward a new religion or religiousness which was to inspire a wholly new kind of society, a new kind of church’.80 Jacobi was blinded to an appreciation of the significance of Fichte’s inversion of Spinoza, and yet his criticism of Fichte was unknowingly astute. He claimed that Fichte’s position was nothing more than an inverted Spinozism, and that the concept of the Absolute I played the same role in Fichte’s system as the concept of Substance played in Spinoza’s. What Jacobi failed to appreciate was that whereas Spinozism starts and finishes in materialism, Fichte’s system starts and finishes with thought. The inversion changed everything. With Fichte, we pass from passivity to activity, from slave to ruler. Fichte pitted man as creator, doer and producer against Spinozist determinism, necessitarianism and fatalism. Humanness and the imagination became one.The creative imagination once more became the defining factor of the whole human enterprise.

© John Dunn.

Fichte turned Spinoza on his head

Sunday, 23 June 2024 at 22:07

Fichte the philosopher on Dr John Dunn. Johann Gottlieb Fichte

Fichte turned Spinoza on his head

It was after reading Kant that Fichte turned Spinoza on his head. He saw in Kant’s work the rebuttal of Spinozist determinism and the way to freedom. Fichte exclaimed with enthusiasm:

I have been living in a new world ever since reading the Critique of Pure Reason. Propositions which I thought could never be overturned have been overturned for me. Things have been proven to me which I thought could never be proven, for example, the concept of absolute freedom, the concept of duty, etc. and I feel all the happier for it. It is unbelievable how much respect for mankind and how much strength this system gives us. (Letter dated August- September 1790 by Fichte to his friend Weisshuhn.)

© John Dunn.

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