Fichte's Vocation of Man
New Interpretive and Critical Essays
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: State University of New York Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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Key to Abbreviations
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This volume collects seventeen previously unpublished essays by an interna-tional group of scholars, all focusing upon different aspects of and offering diverse perspectives upon a single, seminal text, J. G. Fichte?s ?popular? tract of 1800, Die Bestimmung des Menschen.1 The Vocation of Man has been translated into English no fewer than three times, first in 1846 by ...
Introduction: The Checkered Reception of Fichte’s Vocation of Man
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...1. For a detailed account of these events and discussion of the significance of the same, see Yolanda Estes, ?Commentator?s Introduction: J. G. Fichte, Atheismusstreit, Wissenschaftslehre, and Religionslehre,? in J. G. Fichte and the Atheism Dispute (1798?1800), trans. Curtis Bow?The Vocation of Man was published in January 1800, barely a year after the events of the ?atheism controversy? that transfixed a large portion of ...
1 “An Other and Better World”: Fichte’s The Vocation of Man as a Theologico-Political Treatise
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Like Plato before him and Heidegger after him, Fichte was a prolific author but not really a writer of books. In the comprehensive edition of his col?lected works undertaken by the Bavarian Academy of Sciences, which comprises some thirty?five volumes, the works published by Fichte himself only amount to ten tomes. Moreover, most of those works originated in ...
2 Fichte’s Philosophical Bildungsroman
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Fichte?s first major publication of the new nineteenth century, Bestimmung des Menschen (hereafter Vocation of Man), stands out within his corpus for a number of reasons. In comparison with his other self-described ?popular? writings?Bestimmung des Gelehrten (1794 and of 1809), Religionslehre (1806), Reden an die deutsche Nation (1808), to name the most well known?The ...
3 Bestimmung as Bildung: On Reading Fichte’s Vocation of Man as a Bildungsroman
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At the heart of the Bestimmung text is Fichte?s commitment to analyzing the idea of freedom. This is not surprising: Fichte is a philosopher of freedom. G. E. Moore, given his famous or infamous, ?Refutation of Idealism,?1 is an unlikely cheerleader for Fichte. But even Moore, in a review of an early translation into English (a translation that Moore despised, among other ...
4 Knowledge Teaches Us Nothing: The Vocation of Man as Textual Initiation
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It is a widespread though not universal commonplace that The Vocation of Man aims to place its readers outside discursive knowledge. This is not so unusual an ambition for a work of classical German philosophy, yet it is hard to see how a mere text could achieve this goal. If discourse fails to convey the real, there is no use substituting new ideas or judgments for old ...
5 J. G. Fichte’s Vocation of Man: An Effort to Communicate
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While I was writing my first and hitherto only defenses against the accusation of atheism, I was in fact in a foul mood; and afterwards it did not surprise me in the least that most people maintain that in these defenses I have only further incriminated myself. . . . I was accused from out of the blue; I could only defend myself from out of the blue, ...
6 “Interest”: An Overlooked Protagonist in Book I of Fichte’s Bestimmung des Menschen
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The mention of ?interest? as the protagonist in Fichte?s Bestimmung des Menschen may sound a trifle odd, but perhaps it is not as absurd as it might Firstly, ?interest? is to be understood in the sense of Kant?s concept of ?Interesse? (praktisches Interesse, theoretisches Interesse, etc.). We cannot address this issue in detail here. So let it suffice to say that Kant?s concept ...
7 The Dialectic of Judgment and The Vocation of Man
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I propose to approach Fichte?s Bestimmung des Menschen by thinking about its bearing on the phenomenon of judgment. The theme of judgment is one that recurs in many of Fichte?s writings, often in quite prominent contexts, and of course it was a central concern of the Kantian and post?Kantian philosophical projects. But Fichte?s engagement with the theme of judg?...
8 The Traction of the World, or Fichte on Practical Reason and the Vocation of Man
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Fichte?s philosophically most significant or even his most interesting writ?ings are not always his most technical ones. His corpus contains popular, semipopular, as well as very technical writings. The Vocation of Man is a semipopular text, which is not intended for a professional philosophical audience in effectively transforming his ethics into a moral theory....
9 Fichte’s Conception of Infinity in the Bestimmung des Menschen&
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The Bestimmung des Menschen, a text first published in Berlin in 1800, closes with two opposed geometrical images?those of a circle and an infinite straight line. For Fichte, these images are intimately related to a correct understanding of our ?Bestimmung? or ?vocation? as human beings. Once I grasp the true nature of my vocation, I see the universe become trans?...
10 Intersubjectivity and the Communality of Our Final End in Fichte’s Vocation of Man
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Fichte first attempted to formally deduce the reciprocal interaction of ratio?nal beings in the 1796 Foundations of Natural Right, but continued to revisit the topic after that. The view expressed in Book III of the 1800 Vocation of Man is the result of at least two other attempts on his part to refine his views on the issue, and is worth our careful consideration. In a draft of a ...
11 Evil and Moral Responsibility in The Vocation of Man
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In the third part of the Vocation of Man, Fichte argues that the world as we experience it is so awful that we cannot rationally accept that it is all there is?it simply cannot be the case that life exists just so that it can die (VM, 81). He provides a lengthy list of the harms that surround us in this world, beginning with those inflicted by nature, such as (paraphrasing ...
12 Jumping the Transcendental Shark: Fichte’s “Argument of Belief” in Book III of Die Bestimmung des Menschen and the Transition from the Earlier to the Later Wissenschaftslehre
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Let us begin our reconsideration of the place of Die Bestimmung des Men?schen within the larger framework of Fichte?s development and its relation?ship to his earlier ?scientific? presentations of his philosophy somewhat obliquely: namely, by means of a brief comparison of this popular work of 1800, not to any of the scientific treatises or private lectures from the Jena ...
13 Determination and Freedom in Kant and in Fichte’s Bestimmung des Menschen&
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Even a superficial look at the philosophical production of the period ?between Kant and Hegel? reveals that there is a family of terms, which are employed as frequently as no others?sometimes casually in the aftermath of the scholastic tradition, sometimes in a programmatic way, sometimes to introduce new (and not so new) philosophical slogans?of whose impor?...
14 “There is in nature an original thinking power.": On a Claim from Book One of The Vocation of Man
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Disturbing?this is how Fichte?s readers regarded The Vocation of Man at the beginning of the nineteenth century when it was first published in 1800, and disturbing it has remained to this very day. This treatise does too little to enforce the image of the thinker who wrote The Science of Knowledge, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, and does not do enough to invite readers to dis?...
15 Erkenntnis and Interesse: Schelling’s System of Transcendental Idealism and Fichte’s Vocation of Man
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Rarely have notable workers in philosophy and in literary theory inter?acted so intensely as in the period of German letters that spanned the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century. The case of Johann Fichte and Friedrich Schelling is especially interesting, since each of them imagined they were working to solidify a common position ...
16 Faith and Knowledge and Vocation of Man: A Comparison between Hegel and Fichte
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Hegel and Fichte belong to the group of thinkers who create organic and original philosophical systems. The exercise of delving deep into their phi?losophies, as well as the points of disagreement between them, is a highly fruitful one for philosophical research. My aim in this chapter is to contrib?ute to deepening our understanding of Fichte?s Vocation of Man (1800) by ...
17 The Vocation of Postmodern Man: Why Fichte Now? Again!
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We know that one of the main tasks of philosophy, or at least for the Wissenschaftslehre, is to explain the very possibility of philosophy. I would like to add to this task the following for those of us who do the history of philosophy. In choosing to study the work of a particular philosopher or philosophy we must ask, ?Why this philosopher or philosophy?? and, ...
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Page Count: 329
Publication Year: 2013