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Tse, Plato (2019): Fichte's critique of physicalism - towards an idealist alternative. In: Inquiry-An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 62, No. 5: pp. 527-545
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Abstract

Though the perennial problem of consciousness has outlasted the idealists, the reductivist turn in contemporary naturalistic philosophy of mind and the non-reductivist reactions to it provoke us to re-think post-Kantian idealism. Fichte's Wissenschaftslehre makes for a classical case of non-reductivist (and probably even non-naturalist) approach to mind and his critique of 'dogmatism' is all the more relevant in this context. This article contains four sections. The first section is an introduction that explains why post-Kantian idealism is relevant to contemporary philosophy of mind. The second section pinpoints the placement issue that confronts not only current philosophers but also partially motivated Fichte's own philosophy. The third section is a short but essential remark about the normative and practical valence of 'knowledge' and 'science' in Fichte's traditional understanding of them. In the fourth section, I provide a reconstructive analysis of Fichte's understanding and critique of physicalism. Fichte's argument can be analyzed into two horns with each targeting reductivism and epiphenomenalism respectively. The final section is a brief but positive exposition on a necessary feature, namely reflexivity, of mind and the first-person perspective. Fichte's appropriation of intellectual intuition exemplifies a non-representationalist picture that connects content transparency with the active nature of mind.