A Case Study in 'ad hominem' Arguments: Fichte's "Science of Knowledge"

Philosophy and Rhetoric 23 (1):12 - 42 (1990)
Fichte's narrative persona in the Science of Knowledge is obnoxious. I try to disentangle regrettable signs of immaturity and paranoia from justifiable ad hominem arguments. Many of Fichte's ad hominem attacks on metaphysical realists are justified by his metaphysics and epistemology. We cannot criticize an important class of these arguments unless we criticize his epistemology and metaphysics. They are not matters of "style" separable from "substance". I show this inseparability, and point out a few inconsistencies, but otherwise do not comment on Fichte's "substance".
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