Volume 44, 2017
Fichte und seine Zeit
The Meaning of Life According to Fichte (1796–1800)
In a letter to Jacobi dated August 30, 1795, Fichte writes: »What is the purpose of the speculative standpoint, and indeed of philosophy as a whole, if it does not serve life?« But the question is also: in what sense is the meaning of life founded on the meaning of freedom? What I would like to suggest here is that the Science of Knowledge (Wissenschaftslehre) Nova methodo (1796–99), probably the pinnacle of Fichte’s thought during the Jena period, should be read together with the Bestimmung, which brought this period (1800) to a close. The two works tackle head-on the question of the meaning of freedom, which directly links up with the question of the meaning of human existence, with both questions being entirely immanent to the reflection of finite consciousness on its synthetic activity.