Fichte's Subjective Idealism
With a dramatic dialectic style, Fichte expounds his subjective idealism which seriously undermines claims of an external world and which ultimately borders on solipsism. Beginning with the question of Free Will, Fichte concludes that there is none before engaging a mysterious Spirit in a philosophical dialogue over the nature of Fichte's knowledge. In the end, Fichte curses the Spirit for revealing the grim truth: "all reality is transformed into a fabulous dream, without there being any life the dream is about, without there being a mind that dreams."
Following the same path of reasoning as the dialogue, the Spirit begins by asking Fichte how he knows of external objects. In…show more content…
As sensuous properties, says Fichte, are not inherent to the object, but only to the subject, he merely perceives generic, irreducible differences which he is able to catalogue and arbitrarily label with names: red, smooth, tonal. These distinctions make consciousness possible in that without difference sensations, as well as, the distinction between subject and object, consciousness would be an incomprehensible singularity from which nothing could be ascertained. Fichte arrives at the idea of external objects via the Principle of Sufficient Reason, reasoning then that the principle is inherent and necessary for his consciousness; by demanding a cause for his various sensations, the principle seems immediate and inherent because it is at the root of sensation and external object and cannot, therefore, be instantiated by them without circularity. Now, if the principle is a category of Fichte's consciousness and enables him to sense external objects, he feels obligated to concede that "consciousness of the object is only a consciousness of my production of a presentation of the object, which is not recognized as such."
Adding the concept of intuition, which is the apparent perception of finite space, Fichte now arrives at the pinnacle of his idealism: "everything you see outside of you is always you yourself." It seems that Fichte has renounced external object, but from the way he reasons towards the end of the dialogue, this is