Johann Gottlieb Fichte Criticism - Essay

Robert Adamson (essay date 1881)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "'Wissenschafslehre' in Its Earlier Form," in Fichte, William Blackwood and Sons, 1881, pp. 125-88.

[Adamson's work constituted the earliest substantial study of Fichte in English. The first half of his book covers Fichte's biography, and the second, his philosophies. The chapter excerpted below offers an explanation of the Wissenschaftslehre as it appears in Fichte's earlier writings. Beginning with Fichte's influences, Adamson describes Fichte as "Spinoza in terms of Kant."]

The general aim or spirit of the Wissenschaftslehre having been determined, it becomes necessary to consider more particularly the nature of the problems presenting...

(The entire section is 11006 words.)

John Dewey (essay date 1915)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Moral and Political Philosophy," in German Philosophy and Politics, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1942, pp. 98-113.

[Although Dewey's German Philosophy and Politics appeared in a revised edition in 1942, the chapters were revised as little as possible in order to retain their World War I perspective. In a view characteristic of the years spanning both world wars, Dewey presents Fichte as "the beginning" of modern German nationalism.]

. . . Kant was enough of a child of the eighteenth century to be cosmopolitan, not nationalistic, in his feeling. Since humanity as a whole, in its universality, alone truly corresponds to the universality of reason, he upheld the...

(The entire section is 4593 words.)

George Santayana (essay date 1916)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Transcendentalism Perfected" and "Fichte on the Mission of Germany," in Egotism in German Philosophy, J. M. Dent and Sons Limited, and Charles Scribner's Sons, 1916, pp. 65-72 and 73-83.

[In the two chapters below, Santayana addresses the irony that "Fichte, a prophet sprung from the people, a theoretical republican who quarrelled with his students for forming clubs and fighting duels, a fierce idealist full of contempt for worldlings, should have so perfectly supplied the Junkers and bankers with their philosophy. " He illustrates how Fichte's transcendental idealism, translated by the philosopher into nationalism, could become the nationalism of German fascism.]


(The entire section is 4504 words.)

Richard Kroner (essay date 1948)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Year 1800 in the Development of German Idealism," in The Review of Metaphysics, Vol. I, No. 4, June, 1948, pp. 1-31.

[In the excerpt that follows, Kroner recounts the history of German Idealism, focusing "on the year 1800 in which the period of Kant and Fichte waned and the period of Schelling and Hegel began."]


The general import of the year 1800 as the turning point in the development of German Idealism

1. Introduction

The year 1800 was a fateful year in the philosophical movement which we are wont to call "German Idealism." "O'er what place does...

(The entire section is 7398 words.)

Frederick Copleston (essay date 1963)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Fichte," in A History of Philosophy: Volume VII, Fichte to Nietzsche, Burns and Oates Limited, 1963, pp. 32-58.

[In his A History of Philosophy, Copleston devotes three chapters to explicating Fichte's philosophy. The excerpt that follows includes Copleston's review of Fichte's life and some of the fundamental tenets in his philosophy.]

1. Johann Gottlieb Fichte was born in 1762 at Rammenau in Saxony. He came of a poor family, and in the ordinary course of events he could hardly have enjoyed facilities for pursuing advanced studies. But as a small boy he aroused the interest of a local nobleman, the Baron von Miltitz, who undertook to provide for...

(The entire section is 4815 words.)

Tom Rockmore (essay date 1980)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Fichte's Theory of Man as Active Self," in Fichte, Marx, and the German Philosophical Tradition, Southern Illinois University Press, 1980, pp. 6-27.

[In the excerpt that follows, Rockmore reviews Fichte's philosophy as it defined his notion of human activity. Rockmore concludes that "in Fichte's position the attempted solution to the problem of consciousness requires a view of man as an active being."]

(The entire section is 10657 words.)

Patrick Gardiner (essay date 1982)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Fichte and German Idealism," in Idealism: Past and Present, edited by Godfrey Vesey, Cambridge University Press, 1982, pp. 111-26.

[In the following essay, Gardiner considers Fichte's claim that his works are arguments for human freedom. This purpose might be difficult to believe, Gardiner contends, until one puts Fichte's writings into historical and cultural context.]

Fichte's reputation at the present time is in some respects a curious one. On the one hand, he is by common consent acknowledged to have exercised a dominant influence upon the development of German thought during the opening decades of the nineteenth century. Thus from a specifically...

(The entire section is 7708 words.)

Daniel Morrison (essay date 1993)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Women, Family, and State in Fichte's Philosophy of Freedom," in New Perspectives on Fichte, edited by Tom Rockmore and Daniel Breazeale, Humanities Press, 1996, pp. 179-91.

[In the following essay, which was presented in 1993 and first published in 1996, Morrison sets forth the apparent contradiction in Fichte's treatment of womenthey both have rights and do not have rightsand then demonstrates how Fichte's assumptions allowed for this apparent paradox.]

I. Introduction

As Fichte called his philosophy the first system of freedom, it would be interesting to know his position on the rights of women as it can be argued...

(The entire section is 5615 words.)