Choose from one of the two provided passages. In no more than 500 words describe Fichte’s argument or point in the passage in as plain English as possible (e.g. imagine you’re explaining it to a non-philosophy major). The is due via email Friday, October 8th, by 5 p.m.
I can freely determine myself to think this or that; for example, the thing-in-itself of the dogmatic philosophers. If I now abstract from what is thought and observe only myself, I become to myself in this object the content of a specific presentation. That I appear to myself to be determined precisely so and not otherwise, as thinking, and as thinking, of all possible thoughts, the thing-in-itself, should in my opinion depend on my self-determination: I have freely made myself into such an object. But I have not made myself as it is in itself; on the contrary, I am compelled to presuppose myself as that which is to be determined by self-determination. I myself, however, am an object for myself whose nature depends, under certain conditions, on the intellect alone, but whose existence must always be presupposed. Now the object of idealism is precisely this self-in-itself. (1:427)
The self, we say, reverts into itself. So is it not therefore already present for itself before the occurrence of this reversion, and independently thereof? Must it not already be there for itself, in order that it may make itself the object of an act? And if so, doesn’t your philosophy in that case already presuppose what it was meant to explain? I answer: Not at all. It is only through this act, and first by means of it, by an act upon an act itself, which specific act is preceded by no other whatever, that the self originally comes to exist for itself. Only for the philosopher is it there beforehand, as a fact, since he himself has already run through the whole course of experience. He is obliged to express himself as he does, if only to be understood; and is able so to express himself, because he has already long since acquired all the concepts that are needed for the purpose.