Fichte's fictions revisited

Inquiry 51 (3):268 – 287 (2008)
Abstract
Fichte's most influential presentation of his Wissenschaftslehre, which coincides with his tenure at Jena, has, ironically, been subjected to incredulity, misunderstanding, and outright hostility. In a recent essay, noted scholar Daniel Breazeale has undertaken to challenge this history of neglect and misunderstanding by pointing to the significance of striking passages from Fichte's writings in which he asserts that his philosophical system is fictional. At the same time, Breazeale also notes some of the tensions between this fictionalist reading of the Jena Wissenschaftslehre and Fichte's equally forceful insistence on the reality of his system. In this essay, I argue that these two sides of Fichte's conception of his philosophy can, in fact, be reconciled by looking more carefully at distinctions that Fichte himself draws between realities, philosophical fictions, and mere fabrications. What results is a clearer picture of Fichte's conception of transcendental philosophy that builds upon Breazeale's valuable insights.
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