Volume 45, 2018

Mit Fichte philosophieren

Frederick Beiser
Pages 309-327

Neo-Kantianism as Neo-Fichteanism

This article defends the paradoxical thesis that neo-Kantianism is better described as neo-Fichteanism rather than neo-Kantianism. It maintains that neo-Kantianism is closer to Fichte than Kant in four fundamental respects: in its nationalism, socialism, activism, and in its dynamic and quantitative conception of the dualism between understanding and sensibility. By contrast, Kant’s philosophy was cosmopolitan, liberal, non-activist quietist and held a static and qualitative view of the dualism between understanding and sensibility. I attempt to explain why it took the neo-Kantians so long to recognize these profound affinities with Fichte: they were influenced by Fries conception of Fichte as a speculative metaphysician. I argue that the hold of Friesian interpretation of Fichte was first broken by Emil Lask in his Fichtes Idealismus und die Geschichte.