Between Kant and Hegel: Lectures on German Idealism

By Dieter Henrich; David S. Pacini | Go to book overview

19
The Place of Hölderlin's
"judgment and Being"

Within the course of his speculative theology, Fichte shifts from a conceptual framework of epistemic self-reference to one of ontological self-reference. Although he cannot justify this shift theoretically, he is constrained to make it in order to complete his theory. In much the same way, Fichte's theory of intersubjectivity requires that he postulate something for which the Science of Knowledge cannot account within the strictures of the methodological requirements established as early as the Aenesidemus Review. Despite this theoretical juggernaut, Fichte was strongly committed to a theory of intersubjectivity. His first popular Jena lecture, "On the Duties of the Scholar,"1 emphasized moral community as an essential implication of the very meaning of morality. In this claim Fichte departed from the Kantian position. We have known for some time that we can develop Kant's moral philosophy in a way that does not require the idea of a multitude of persons. To be sure, the categorical imperative gives the impression that this is not the case. We can show with comparative ease, however,

1. J. G. Fichte, Einige Vorlesungen über die Bestimmung des Gelehrten [1794], ed. Reinhard
Lauth and Hans Jacob, in GA, vol. 1,3 (1966), pp. 1-68; English: "Some Lectures Concerning
the Scholar's Vocation," in EPW, pp. 144-184. See also Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Von den
Pflichten der Gelehrten. Jenaer Vorlesungen, 1794-1795, ed. Reinhard Lauth, Hans Jacob, and
Peter K. Schneider (Hamburg: Felix Meiner, 1971). In addition to the five published lectures,
the 1971 volume includes three unpublished lectures that were part of Fichte's original pub-
lic lecture series on "Morality for Scholars," together with four "Remarks to the Danish edi-
tion" (1796) that Hans Schulz translated back into German in 1920 as "Zusatze Fichtes zu
seinen Vorlesungen über die Bestimmung des Gelehrten" [Kant-Studien, 25 (1920): 202-
209]. Daniel Breazeale includes translations of Fichte's three unpublished lectures ("Con-
cerning the Difference between the Spirit and the Letter within Philosophy") in EPW,
pp. 192-215.

-279-

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