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(2014) The Palgrave handbook of German idealism, Dordrecht, Springer.


his life and philosophical calling

Marina F. Bykova

pp. 267-285

Few thinkers have lived more remarkable lives than Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762–1814), whose career began with an incredible ascent from rural poverty to academic celebrity and was filled with challenge, conflict, failure, and ultimate triumph. Despite the abstract nature of his philosophical ideas and difficulty to grasp the dynamics of his thought, it is possible to notice some important parallels between Fichte's highly technical "philosophy of striving" and his personal striving to establish himself professionally and socially, to position himself within the philosophical field, and, most important, through his work to have an effect upon his contemporaries and his troublesome age. Exploring links between Fichte's career, philosophy, and a specific intellectual context is the primary goal of this chapter. The main assumption that guides this exploration is that the meaning of philosophical ideas and philosophical texts can be recovered contextually as a product of a particular time and place. Hence the chapter aims at contextualizing Fichte's scholarly development and exploring his philosophy in the context of that social and intellectual discourse that influenced him both personally and professionally. I hope to draw a portrait of a thinker in his world and his intellectual interactions with his surroundings.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-1-137-33475-6_14

Full citation:

Bykova, M. F. (2014)., Fichte: his life and philosophical calling, in M. C. Altman (ed.), The Palgrave handbook of German idealism, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 267-285.

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