Volume 49, 2021

The Enigma of Fichte’s First Principles (Das Rätsel von Fichtes Grundsätzen)

Gesa Wellmann
Pages 119-138

"The Subsequent Delivery of the Deduction" – Fichte’s Transformation of Kant’s Deduction of the Categories

In the wake of the massive criticism of Kant’s deduction of the categories in the first Critique, Fichte starts providing what he takes an improved version of such a deduction to be. This article aims at investigating the transformation he thereby introduces into the Kantian thought. I will do so mainly with respect to the deduction’s architectonical dimension, i.e. by investigating the role of the deduction for the Wissenschaftslehre as a whole. Concretely, I will defend the following theses: (1) By identifying the deduction of the categories and the metaphysical system, Fichte moves away both from Kant’s conception of a system and from that of a deduction. (2) It is the unique character of Fichte’s conception of a first principle of a system that allows for an identification between system and deduction.