The place of aesthetics in Fichte's early system
Is part ofNew essays on Fichte's later Jena Wissenschaftslehre ; pp. 299-316.
Publisher(s)Northwestern University Press
The aim of this paper is to demonstrate that aesthetics had its place in Fichte’s early system of the WL, and that due to contingent circumstances he did not have the chance to expound it. But we can reconstruct the main lines of what his aesthetics would have looked like if we pay attention to the article sent to Schiller in 1795 on the “spirit” and the “letter” in philosophy, completing it with the courses he gave in the preceding months on that topic and with other sources. We discover not only that aesthetics is an important part of the philosophical system but that art stands close the act of philosophising itself. In fact, both the philosopher and the artist draw from the same original source: “spirit” as defined in Kant’s third Critique. For the philosopher as well as for the artist the central faculty is then “imagination”, an imagination that relies on “feeling”. In the end Fichte sketches an aesthetics based on the creative genius of the artist, leaving little room for the faculty of judgment and for taste, that is: the receptive attitude toward beauty, that play a prominent role in Kant’s aesthetics.