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Salvi Turró, Fichte. De la consciència..

ID VI.1.r3


Salvi Turró, Fichte. De la consciència a l'absolut [Fichte: From
Consciounsess to the Absolute], Omicron:
Badalona (Barcelona), 2011. 270pp. €20
Sergi Avilés (CSRF, Barcelona)

One of the main merits of Salvi Turró’s book is that
he makes Fichte speak in the present, breaking down
the two-hundred-year old wall separating us. Beyond the technical or historical interest in reviving the German
thinker, there is also the vital, existential and pragmatic intention to grasp
what is valuable in Fichte for us. Turró fully endorses Fichte’s dictum that
only the spirit, and not the letter, is what brings true realization of the sense
of thought and life. It is the author’s interest to capture the vital motivations
and the core ideas in which Fichte built up his thought.
The prose often achieves the directness of body language during oral
communication. The author thus maintains a tight congruence between the
philosophical concept and immediate, sensuous life that seduces the reader.
And it is not necessary that the reader be a specialist in Fichte, only that he/she
desire to understand or, rather, to explicitly bring to the forefront and repeat
the spiritual motivations that engendered the first Idealist philosophy. Once
this is accomplished at any given point, understanding the entire system occurs
without violence and validates Fichte's philosophy. If not, it is delegitimized,
not because it is false theoretically, but because it has failed in its main
purpose: to extract the universal meaning of life. But this conclusion can only
be reached at the end of the road or repetition, never at the very beginning.
Regarding its content, the book covers Fichte’s full vital and intellectual
trajectory, from the formative years of the young man at Pforta and
Leipzig, with its important Pietist influences, and his confrontation with the
Aufklärung, to the last philosophy of 1813. The design of the chapters and
the thread of the arguments reproduce both Fichte’s chronological vicissitudes
and the nuclei of his thought. In the first three chapters on the formative
years, the transcendental foundation in consciousness (Doctrine of Science) and
the principles of practical philosophy (law, morality and religion)
are explained. From the atheism and other disputes of the Jena period, chapter
4 develops the inflections that reshaped Fichte’s “second navigation,” in
Plato sense. The last three chapters focus on the second period, which set
out the review of the foundational task regarding the Absolute and issues of
applied philosophy (economics, politics, education, religion) as well. These
issues occupied the attention of the philosopher in his later years and they
constitute the reintegration of philosophy into life. Faced with the traditional
opposition between Fichte’s two periods, Turró proposes a transcendental
but evolutionary unity as the key reading, especially in relation to the link
between consciousness and the Absolute. The “second navigation” would
bring the Jena transcendentalism to its consummation with the doctrine of
the unknowability of the Absolute as such, even as its presence to consciousness
represents an “image” for us. Particularly relevant and new in the
Hispanic scholarship of Fichte is Turró’s thematizing of Fichte’s interpretation
of Christianity (and even Trinitarian dogma) as the culmination of the
Doctrine of Science in 1813.
Turró’s understanding of Fichte is the opposite of the one usually
transmitted in handbooks, which portray him as merely a mechanical link
between Kant and Hegel. Entering into Fichte’s vital motivations, repeating
his intellectual and personal journey, Turró develops an image of the thinker
removed from jargon and clichés. There emerges an independent figure, a
religious freethinker without any attachment to preset formulas, a man of
indomitable character focused on the great questions. A “metaphysical
thinker” without affiliation to any school.
Turró’s scientific apparatus is remarkable, up to date, and includes
contributions from the great German and French specialists. The more specialized
reader will find the bibliography necessary for further research or
information in the notes, where there are more technical discussions of specific
points, as well as in a chapter at the end of the book that collects and
discusses the current state of research.
The publisher has made an effort to offer a handsome, well-made volume
to do justice to the contents, pleasant to touch and durable. The design and typography
manage to convey a sense of fluidity, power and speed in reading.