My aim in this paper is to clarify J. G. Fichte's theory of drives, its origins in the biology of the 1780s and 1790s, and its role in Fichte's moral psychology. I begin by outlining some components of Fichte's theory of agency and his theory of organism that seem puzzling if one assumes, as scholars typically do, that these discussions are indebted primarily to Kant. I then introduce J. F. Blumenbach's theory of natural self-organization, describe some differences between Blumenbach's actual view and Kant's presentation of it in the third Critique, and offer some textual evidence that Fichte was aware of these differences and was consciously following Blumenbach and departing from Kant in his conception of organic nature. I then explain how Fichte employs that conception of organism in his response to what had become by the early 1790s one of the central worries about Kantian moral philosophy: the worry about the harmony of rational and natural aspects of human character, articulated most influentially by Schiller.


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pp. 247-269
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