Enlightenment and the Unconditional Good: From Fichte to the Frankfurt School


Abstract
In a series of lectures from 1804–05, Johann Gottlieb Fichte sets out a conception of enlightenment whose basic structure is, I argue, to some extent reproduced in two more famous accounts of enlightenment found in post-Kantian German philosophy: Hegel’s account of the Enlightenment’s struggle with faith in his Phenomenology of Spirit and the conception of enlightenment rationality presented in Horkheimer and Adorno’s Dialectic of Enlightenment. The narrative I offer serves to highlight, moreover, the critical role played by the notion of an unconditional good in Fichte’s and Hegel’s critiques of enlightenment. The lack of an explicit appeal to, and account of, this notion in Horkheimer and Adorno’s critique of enlightenment will be shown to raise questions concerning how successful their critique of enlightenment can really be thought to be
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DOI 10.1080/09672559.2015.1107614
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Sources of the Self.Allen W. Wood & Charles Taylor - 1992 - Philosophical Review 101 (3):621.
Phenomenology of Spirit.G. W. F. Hegel - 1979 - Oxford University Press.

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