Fichte on Faith and Autonomy

British Journal for the History of Philosophy 21 (4):733-753 (2013)
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J. G. Fichte (1762–1814) articulates and defends a conception of autonomy as rational self-identification. This paper reconstructs this conception and examines various difficulties recognized by Fichte during the earliest phases of his career (1780s–1790s), with the heterogeneity of natural drives and freedom as the principal threat. Theoretically, this heterogeneity is overcome for Fichte by his deduction of the compound nature of humanity as a condition of rational agency. But, from the standpoint of the deliberating agent herself, this deduction is not sufficient. The harmony of nature and freedom is, for Fichte, a desideratum of practical rationality, and so must be addressed as such. Fichte's argument at this point is that a further perspective on oneself must be at least implicit in the moral outlook of a deliberating agent in order for this harmony to be attained on a practical level. This is because the harmony that is achieved at the deliberative level is occasional, temporary, and fundamentally uncertain. The required perspective turns out to be religious faith, the idea that the ‘infinite task’ of morality is eternally realized in divine reason, or that there is a ‘moral world order’ in which nature and freedom are reconciled.



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Fichte on Conscience.Owen Ware - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (2):376-394.

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