Evolution of the concept of the absolute in Fiche

History of world philosophy





Fichte, Absolute, manifestation, I, knowledge, the theory of image, God, being, light


The article offers an analysis of the concept of the Absolute in Fichte’s philosophy. Despite the difficulty of the definition, this concept receives a rich and creative rethinking in Fichte and will further influence the philosophical systems of thought. Gradually introducing this concept into his philosophical project of Wissenschaftslehre Fichte often changes its interpretation. So, starting with a somewhat vague understanding of the concept of the "absolute I" through Schelling's criticism of the Absolute, he develops the theory of the manifestation of the Absolute, each time choosing new metaphors to denote it, and sometimes filling it with religious content, when the Absolute becomes a substitute for the concept of God.

 On the one hand, it’s important not to reduce the Absolute to a simple object of thought because this would indicate the limitation of the Absolute. On the other hand, it would be wrong to consider the Absolute as an empty or neutral concept or something completely enclosed in itself. Then, its existence will be doubtful. Fichte is careful about a clear definition of the Absolute. He solves this dilemma through the idea of the manifestation of the Absolute. Manifestation is the exit of the Absolute beyond itself while remaining unchanged. The ability to manifest itself is a prerequisite that the Absolute can be recognized and thought. This is how the Absolute manifests itself in the form of knowledge. Fichte emphasizes that the Absolute is not a projection of our mind, it may not depend on our thinking, however with such peculiarity that truth and knowledge have their basis in it. Thereby, with the theory of the Absolute, Fichte develops the idea of the foundation that is outside of ourselves, has transcendental character, and thus allows knowledge or truth not to be trapped in subjective tenets. Analyzing step by step the process of evolution of this concept, we will be able to see how in the last years of his life, Fichte states the importance of two realities: the “I” and the “Absolute” and how he explains the connection between them.

Author Biography


PhD, Philosophy Lecturer, Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Philosophy and Theology, Ukrainian Catholic University, 35a, Khutorivka St., L’viv, 79070


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How to Cite

NETREBIAK, O. (2024). Evolution of the concept of the absolute in Fiche: History of world philosophy. Filosofska Dumka, (1), 96–109. https://doi.org/10.15407/fd2024.01.096



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