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Fichte's Republic
Idealism, History and Nationalism


  • Date Published: October 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107111189

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About the Authors
  • The Addresses to the German Nation (1808) is one of Fichte's best-known works. It is also his most controversial work because of its nationalist elements. In this book, David James places this text and its nationalism within the context provided by Fichte's philosophical, educational and moral project of creating a community governed by pure practical reason, in which his own foundational philosophical science or Wissenschaftslehre could achieve general recognition. Rather than marking a break in Fichte's philosophy, the Addresses to the German Nation and some lesser-known texts from the same period are shown to develop themes already present in his earlier writings. The themes discussed include the opposition between idealism and dogmatism, the role of Fichte's 'popular' lectures and writings in leading individuals to the standpoint of idealism, the view of history demanded by idealism and the role of the state in history.

    • Provides readers with an accessible account of previously neglected aspects of Fichte's philosophy
    • Offers an alternative view of Addresses to the German Nation without underplaying the problematic nature of this text
    • Demonstrates the place of Addresses to the German Nation within Fichte's general philosophical project, relating it to aspects of the philosophy of Kant and Rousseau
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'In his enlightening new book David James turns to the question of what becomes of Fichte's idealist subject when it is transposed into the political realm, challenging both those who would see in Fichte an ideologue and those who would divorce Fichte's political writings from his systematic writings.' Stefan Bird-Pollan, University of Vienna

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107111189
    • length: 240 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.49kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Selfhood, virtue and the Wissenschaftslehre
    1.1 Fichte's critique of Rousseau
    1.2 The dispute between idealism and dogmatism
    1.3 Idealism and virtue
    1.4 The republic of scholars
    2. Practical reason, conscience and ethical vocation
    2.1 The primacy of practical reason
    2.2 Conscience and radical evil
    2.3 Ethical vocation
    3. The relation between moral subjectivity and history in Fichte's defence of the French Revolution
    3.1 Moral subjectivity and history
    3.2 Experience and history
    4. Fichte's philosophy of history: the future ages of humanity as postulates of pure practical reason
    4.1 Practical need and the end of reason
    4.2 Fichte's world plan
    4.3 Fichte's instrumentalization of history
    5. The absolute state: coercion and perfectibility
    5.1 The absolute state
    5.2 From Rechtsstaat to Kulturstaat
    6. Fichte's Republic
    6.1 The idea of a new German university
    6.2 The role of the new university in a German national education
    6.3 Philosophy and the life of the nation
    6.4 Love of fatherland and the moral will
    6.5 The German Republic
    7. The role of language in Fichte's construction of the nation
    7.1 Creating the nation
    7.2 Fichte's idea of an original language
    7.3 The Germans as speakers of an original language
    7.4 Language and the construction of the nation
    7.5 Fichte and Machiavelli

  • Author

    David James, University of Warwick
    David James is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Warwick. He is the author of Rousseau and German Idealism: Freedom, Dependence and Necessity (Cambridge, 2013) and Fichte's Social and Political Philosophy: Property and Virtue (Cambridge, 2011).

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