Fichte’s Philosophy: Idealism and Nationalism

April 12, 2012

Fichte

Johann Gottlieb Fichte was a German philosopher. Admirer of practical philosophy of Kant, his work has two aspects:

- Rigorous and abstract: His Theory of Science is a philosophy of freedom. The science in question is the philosophical science, which is only capable to make sense of all the aspirations of the human imagination.

- Practical: In The Commercial State and his Addressses to the German nation, Fichte asserts itself as a liberal Republican and a humanist philosopher. He is the founder of modern philosophy. The method of phenomenological descriptions of life and reflection on history. Hegel believed that the theory of science was one of the three biggest events of his age.

Let’s describe a little more precisely the theory of science:

The presentation of 1794 presents the philosophy of “absolute self”. Since understanding is always understood from itself is to understand all things “refer to oneself the whole truth”.

Version of 1804 goes further. Fichte builds a theory of God as a reality and fully accessible to rational human mind.

Some quotations from Fichte on political philosophy :

Fichte On nationalism:

- “Cosmopolitanism is the desire that the dominant purpose of the existence of the human race will actually be achieved in the human race. Patriotism is the willingness that this goal is achieved primarily in the nation that we are ourselves members and that result from it get along with all mankind ”

Fichte On Peace and War:

- “Suppose a state that has had fifteen years of peace and that peace has devoted to the maintenance of his army everything during those years, he could draw from its territory and all he could save these other basic expenses – which army, as might occur as a result of a war that broke out, he would completely lose the first battle: instead, assume it has dismissed half its army and that what would have cost the maintenance of that half, he has devoted to a national education: I pretend to show that this state, when war breaks out, could also dismiss the other half of his army, on the contrary it would have been a nation to be placed under arms, a nation that could not be overcome with absolutely no human power ”

Fichte On the state:

- “The totalitarian state is one that assigns the orientation of all individual strengths to the finality of the case”

Fichte On faith:

- “This system is expected to be a mighty happiness is the system of idolatry, it is as old as human corruption and the progress of time has merely changed its outward form”

Fichte On freedom:

- “To be free is nothing, everything is becoming”

Fichte On the self and identity:

- “When the mind and thought are taken as identical, and vice versa, which is generated in such a thought is the concept of self”

Fichte On sociability:

- “The man (and all finite beings in general) becomes man among men in general … so there must be men, they must be many. When it is determined completely this concept, we are led, from the mind of an individual, to admit a second order to explain the first “