restricted access Imagination and Reflection: lntersubjectivity. Fichte's "Grundlage" of 1794 (review)
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BOOK REVIEWS 487 rably. They were no longer treating the Americans as free born Englishmen but in some way, as inferiors. These arguments are admirably set out in Professor Peach's introduction to Price's Observations. He even advances an eleven point argument showing how Price moves from a definition of civil liberty to a conclusion that Britain should suspend hostilities and discuss the colonists grievances in a reasonable way. He establishes beyond any doubt the ethical basis of Price's critique of English policy. The book is also carefully scholarly: the various editions of the Observationsare taken into account and interesting letters and responses [from Turgot, Burke, Adam Ferguson, and John Wesley] attest to the whirlwind that followed Price's pronouncements on America. The same degree of scholarly care has been applied to the volume of correspondence , covering the period from 1748-x778. These letters, as I have indicated, illustrate the range of Price's interests and activities. They also show his close relationship with Americans like Franklin, Chauncy, Lee and Josiah Quincy. A series of useful footnotes keeps the reader informed of all the persona in Price's life and details, where necessary, of historical reference. The letters themselves are not actually numbered, an omission which sometimes makes it difficult for the reader to cross-refer. Leslie Stephen made a characteristically acerbic remark about Price's readers having to struggle to discover his drift and then finding his argument less than valuable when they have understood it. These two volumes refute that assertion. Though they show Price to be a man aware of his limitations, they also present us with a portrait of a serious political moralist whose response to the American imbroglio is worthy of our continued attention and intellectual respect. MALCOLM JACK London Thomas P. Hohler. Imagination and Reflection: lntersubjectivity. Fichte's "Grundlage" of i794. Martinus Nijhoff Philosophy Library, vol. 8. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 198~. Pp. x + 16o. $~9.5 o (cloth). The "Wissenschaftslehre" is no book; it was the name which J. G. Fichte gave to his entire philosophical system and enterprise. In 1794 and 1795 he published the first major presentation of the new philosophy, the Grundlage der gesammten Wissenschaftslehre , a text intended to accompany his lectures on the subject. Growing misgivings concerning the particular form of this initial presentation quickly led Fichte to recast his thoughts in a new and utterly revised form. As early as 1796 he was giving lectures on "Wissenschaftslehre nova methodo," and for the rest of his life he continued to produce one drastically revised version of his system after another. But none of these later versions was published in Fichte's own lifetime. Though many of these unpublished texts were included in the edition of Fichte's Nachgelassene Werke edited by his son in 1834/35, most readers continued to identify the Wissenschaftslehre with 488 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 22:4 OCT 1984 the Grundlage of 1794/95 . Moreover, nearly everyone agreed as well about the character of the system outlined in the Grundlage. Even philosophers who would shrink from any suggestion of Hegelian influence were willing to accept Hegel's verdict on Fichte's "subjective idealism." Bertrand Russell, for example, was merely repeating the common perception when he wrote that Fichte "carried subjectivism to a point which seems almost to involve a kind of insanity. He holds that the Ego is the only ultimate reality .... "~ A striking feature of the recent, widely noted revival of interest in Fichte's version of transcendental philosophy is the new emphasis placed upon Fichte's later works, especially the Berlin lectures of 18o4. Fichte studies today is dominated by the work of members of the so-called "Munich school," who view the Wissenschaftslehre as a theory of the Absolute and its appearances, and ultimately as a philosophy of religion . Thus, though most recent commentators on Fichte are eager to defend him against Hegel, they generally do so by appealing to the authority of the more mature, unpublished works, thereby conceding the vulnerability of the 1794/95 Grundlage. What distinguishes the book under review is precisely that it defends Fichte without having to resort to the later writings...