FICHTE, JOHANN GOTTLIEB: German philosopher; b. at Rammenau, near Bischofswerds (20 m. e.n.e. of Dresden), May 19, 1762; d. in

Berlin Jan. 27, 1814. The son of a poor weaver, he attended the public school at Meissen and the charity school at Schulpforta. Later he studied at the universities of Jena and Leipsic. For a number of years he w,as private tutor in Leipsic, Zurich, and Warsaw. In 1792 he went to Königsberg to hear Kant, whose transcendentalism he had now adopted. Here he wrote in four weeks his Versuch einer Kritik aller Offenbarung (Königsberg, 1792), which appeared anonymously and was taken for a work of Kant's. When the authorship of the book became known, Fichte's reputation as a philosopher was made. After a short residence in Zurich, he entered upon a professorship in philosophy at Jena in 1794. Here he published Grundlage der glesammten WiSsenschaftslehre (Jena, 1794), his new system of philosophy; Die BeStimmuftg des Gelehrten (1794); Grundlage des Naturrechts (2

parts, 1796; Eng, transl. The Science of Rights, Philadelphia, 1869, new e'd London, 1889); and 'System der Sittenlehre (171~; Eng. transl., The Science of Ethics, London, 1897). Both his wri- tings and lectures made a deep impression; but they also created a suspicion of atheism. In 1798 he published a little emay entitled Ueber den Grund uncers Glaubem an eine göttliche Weltregierung, in which he declared that the moral order of the world is God, and that there is no other God. Despite Fichte's strenuous denial of the charge of atheism he was dismissed from the university a few months laten In June, 1799 he went to Berlin where, except for a summer at Erlangen in 1805 and a visit to Königsberg in 18W-07, he spent the remainder Of his life. In this period falls Die Betimmug des Menschen (Berlin, 1800); Grundzilge des gegenwdrtig- Zeitalters (1806), lectures delivered at Berlin in 1804-05; Ueber das Wesen des Gelehrten (18013), lectures delivered at the university of Erlangen in 1805; and Reclen an die deutsche Nation

(1808), a famous course of lectures delivered at Berlin in the winter of 1807-08. He took a prominent part in the establishment of the Uni- versity of Berlin and was professor of philosophy in the new institution from its opening (1810) till his death. The fruits of his academic work there will be found in Die WisSenschaftsiehre in ihrem allgemeinen Umrisse (1810; Eng. transl., The Science of Knowledge, Philadelphia, 1868, new ed.,

London, 1889); and in Die, Thatsachen des Beumsstseine (Tübingen, 1817). Fichte's popular writing will be found in English translation in The Popular Works of J. G. Fichte (2 volB., London, 1848-49; 4th ed., 2 vols., 1889), including, The Vocation of the Scholar, The Nature of the Scholar, The Vocation of Man, Characteristics of the Present Age, The Way


towards the Blessed Life, and Outlines of the Doctrine of Knowledge. Fichte's Sammtliche Werke (8 vols., Berlin, 1845-46) were edited by his son I. H. Fichte. Fichte derives all philosophical knowledge from the one principle of the consciousness of the indivisible Ego, which posits its own being in distinction from a divisible non-Ego. His ethics is based on the absolute freedom of this Ego as an intelligent being. Religion is by him reduced to faith in the moral order of the universe, and this leads to the positive assertion of immortality on the ground that no ego which by the act of consciousness has become real can ever perish. While Fichte's subjectivism was soon superseded by other metaphysical views, his influence as a moral reformer is felt in Germany even to-day. See Idealism; Religion, Philosophy of .

Bibliography: he authoritative life is by his son, I. H. Fichte, J. G. Fichte's Leben and litterarischer HrWweckset, Leipsic, 1862. Other accounts are by C. Köstlin, Tübingen, 1862; L. Noack, Leipsic, 1862 (important); O. Pfleiderer, Stuttgart, 1877; A. Spir, Leipsic, 1879; W . Smith, in the Popular Works, ut sup.; ADS, vi. 761-771. On various phases of his philosophy consult: W. Busse, Fichte und seine Beziehung zur Gegenwart des deutschen Volkae, Halle, 1848-49; A. Schopenhauer, Aus A. Schopenhauer's . . . Nachlasa, ed. J. Frauenetadt, pp. 161-189, Leipsic, 1864; F. Bowen, Modern Philosophy, pp. 310-326, New York, 1877; F. Zimmer, J G. Fichte's Religimeaphilosophie, Berlin, 1878; A. Seth, The Development from Kant to Hegel, London, 1882; C. C. Everett, Fichte's Science of Knowledge, Chicago, 1884; Anna B. Thompson, The Unity of Pichte's Doctrine of Knowledge, Boston, 1895; I. F. Brown, Doctrine of Freedom of the Will in FirAte's Philosophy, Richmond, Ind., 1900; C. Ivanoff, Die Ethik J. G. Fichte, Leipsic, 1900; H. Lindau, J. G. Fichte und der neuere Socialismus, Berlin, 1900: Ellen B. Talbot, The Fundamental Principles of pichte's Philoaopky, New York, 1906; M. Raieh, Fichte, seine Ethik, und seine Stelle zum Problem des Individualismus, Tübingen. 1907.


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