Fichte's Developmental View of Self-Consciousness

In Fichte's Foundations of Natural Right: A Critical Guide. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 92-116 (2016)

Gabriel Gottlieb
Xavier University (Cincinnati, OH)
Fichte’s Foundations of Natural Right develops an intersubjective view of individual self-consciousness. The central concept of this view is his notion of the summons, which he characterizes as upbringing. I argue that Fichte has a developmental view of self-consciousness in which a subject is brought up, through relations of recognition, to be first an individual human being that is capable of responding to reasons and second a political individual that respects other political individuals’ rights. My argument shows that Fichte has two conceptions of recognition, elementary recognition and political recognition, as well as two conceptions of the individual, the individual human being and the political individual. I examine Fichte’s conception of Erziehung, or upbringing, and particularly, Fichte’s remarks about child rearing in order to disambiguate the two types of recognition and individuality.
Keywords Fichte  Self-Consciousness  German Idealism  Bildung  Natural Right
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