Talk:Johann Gottlieb Fichte

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Fichte picked up the problem of Dualism where Kant left it and sought to solve some of the epistemological and ethical concerns of the objective knowledge and the subjective reason. Fichte strove to find the certain, common ground. He argued that by not solving this problem, Kant left it open to skepticism. Fichte saw this as too materialistic, so he attempted to eliminate Kant's dualism, and, in doing so, articulated a nationalism that posited the national community as an ethical community.

Fichte's 1794, Theory of Knowledge, dealt with the problem of the dualism of subject (or freedom) and object (or determinism). He concluded that neither was grounded enough to be confident. His solution was classic idealism. Fichte approached the identity of subject and object by positing that we must think of ourselves from within in order to see that there is no dualism. He said that we must further posit an absolute ego, a creative nature, the world as subject, a conscious totality, a self-creating world with no duality. But, we cannot prove the absolute ego, so it must be posited as a regulative ideal, not a proven existing thing. Furthermore, we have an ethical duty to posit this ego, because we can only be moral by being rational and free. But, to be free, we must be a part of an absolute freedom. We must also act as if God exists, even though we cannot know, nor demonstrate this. We emulate this ideal by action, an ethical duty, that transforms the world and ourselves until we become more like the absolute ego (or God). In doing so, we see that subject and object are not isolated, but are identical. We also discover that in changing the world, we change ourselves, because we only really know the world when we act upon it and changeunion of theory and action was called "praxis"; Hegel would draw upon this ideal.

Fichte develops nationalism in Vocation of Man (1800). In this political philosophy that is a defense of the ethical community of wills, Fichte presents an ethical imperative to work for a community and against chaos. It is a compulsion to act that is a compulsion towards betterment. Each individual has a duty to will an ethical community, a universal cosmopolitan culture. This universal community based on freedom is the goal of human freedom. Fichte posits the intermediate community is the nation-state, a limited community of wills, which is no less ethical and one in which our ethical duty towards national unification is an imperative.

Fichte's Kantian view of a unified Germany is nationalism with an undertone. Fichte sees Napoleon's unification of France as "imposed" unification and, thus, opposed the French as imperialistic. He defends German nationalism and the Germans as the original people, or Ur Volk. He sees the Germans as a privileged and chosen people that must fight to prevent their corruption. He further sees the state as an ethical realization of the German people that guarantees liberty and individuality and is the embodiment of the collective will. He believed that the individual has an ethical duty to immerse himself in the state.

Fichte's nationalism is passionate; thus it does not give itself too much to philosophy. It also became a sort of secular religion for him.

Also, I think a number of claims here need to be made substantially clearer. For example, "He picked up the problem of Dualism? where Kant? left it and sought to solve some of the epistemological? and ethical? concerns of the [objective knowledge]? and the [subjective reason]?." So, where did Kant "leave" the problem of dualism, and just what does it mean to say Fichte "picked it up" there? Also, just what are the "epistemological? and ethical? concerns of the [objective knowledge]? and the [subjective reason]"? I can't tell, but I sure would like to know! --LMS

ACK! Larry, must you make me go back and do research I've already done?  :-7 Don't have my notes with me now (at work). I've got most of the warrants for my arguments written down somewhere's, but this was the short version of my write-up on Fichte. I entered it because I couldn't find my elongated version complete with quotes from both Kant and Fichte. Also, I doubt my Philosophy Prof was too concerned about my accuracy (disstressing). Thanks for the critique! --Invictus

I agree with Larry, the above could be clarified and made useful, but it needs a bit of massaging. In the mean time, I've replaced the article with a much shorter, but hopefully slightly more clear, description of Fichte's importance to German idealism. MRC


I would be interested to know more about Schopenhauer's description of a second, absolute consciousness. It may come as a surprise that I cannot find mention of such an activity in any of Schopenhauer's writings. Lestrade 15:39, 5 October 2005 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]

That mention could mean Schopenhauer's 'will' considered as a universal force rather than a direct relation to an individual ego. Nagelfar 21:27, 13 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In the third paragraph, under the category "Life and Work", the page gives a misleading representation of Fichte's influence on Schopenhauer. Schopenhauer called Fichte the father of "sham philosophy" in Book II, chapter I of "The World as Will and Representation." Aside from such rhetorical attacks, it is also clear that they differ philosophically in that Schopenhauer acknowledged the noumenon while Fichte did not. For Sch., "The Will" is the noumenon, a.k.a. the thing-in-itself.

So when it says, "In fact, Fichte achieved fame for originating the argument that consciousness is not grounded in anything outside of itself. This notion eventually became the defining characteristic of German Idealism and thus an essential underpinning to understanding the philosophies of Hegel, and of Arthur Schopenhauer . . . " This was not an essential underpinning of Sch.'s philosophy. -- 01:42, 7 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I added a section about Fichte's theory of self-consciousness being a social phenomonon. It was a little hard to sum up without going into a lot of detail so it might be a little too hazy or vague.

To add[edit] German nationalism burdened with a romantic quixotic aspect was founded by Johann Gottlieb Fichte. in 1807 -romantic nationalism; proclaimed German ethos to be the seedbed for human perfection; argued against Jewish emancipation. 1808: delivered series of ‘Addresses to the German Nation,’ rallied German-speaking people to resist French, & spoke of the superiority of the Germans. Anti-intellectual, anti-democratic sentiment woven into German fabric; destructive chauvinism Fichte, a fervent democrat, excluded Jews from equality. Called the father of German nationalism, Fichte has also been called the father of modern German anti_Semitism. His celebration of German nationalism was matched by his denigration of Jews. In 1793 he had argued against Jewish emancipation, characterizing the Jews as a state within a state that would undermine the German nation. Jewish ideas were as obnoxious as French ideas. The only way in which he could concede giving rights to Jews, he said, would be "to cut off all their heads in one night, and to set new ones on their shoulders, which should contain not a single Jewish idea." --Molobo 10:33, 22 May 2006 (UTC) Also a quote regarding his desire to comitt ethnic cleansing is here: [1] --Molobo 10:37, 22 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Molobo is an expert on anti-isms, especially its practical appliance, as shown in his contribs to Wikipedia. --Matthead 22:09, 31 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm more than half done with Addresses to the German Nation now. Calling it "destructive chauvinism" probably understates the case. No human beings on Earth are capable of original thought, except the German, says Fichte. Chauvinism is definitely the word for it. German is too complicated for non-Germans too learn. Non-Germans might _think_ they've thought of something, but it will never have any impact (like a slyph sleeping on the grass, he says). I sympathize with him, a little bit, he was overrun by Napoleon and wanted to rouse the Germans to get out from under the Corsican-led French. But to basically call everyone else sub-human... well, the fact that it was re-issued in 1922 makes me think that calling him a proto-Nazi isn't out of order. JoshNarins (talk) 14:13, 10 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Obscure Reasons[edit]

The section "Life and work" claims that Fichte published his first work anonymously for obscure reasons. This seems naïve to me. It is obvious that Fichte mimicked Kant's style and hoped to deceptively sell the book to people who thought that they would be reading Kant. The book would not have had many sales if published with an unknown author's name.Lestrade 15:18, 26 October 2006 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]

I changed the section. I'm not perfectly clear on all of the details of Fichte's life, but the claim that Kant rejecting Fichte's request for a loan caused a feud does not seem to appear in any of the secondary literature. The Intro to the Attempt (and the Intro to the EPW) claims that Fichte sent the manuscript to Kant in order to pursue Kant's acquaintance after a first interview went poorly. He copied Kant's style, partially to exhibit his mastery of Kant's terminology, and partly to suck up. Kant enjoyed and approved of the work and began speaking to him. Fichte did ask for a loan, and Kant did not give him any money, but he told him to publish the Attempt, hooked him up with his publisher, and when the censors and publisher negotiations went slowly, Kant got Fichte a job as a tutor. Relations did break down later, but I sort of thought that was during the Atheism Controversy.
Anyway, the previous content was a feasible enough reconstruction of what happened, but I've never heard any published source make those claims.Hansonfan 04:10, 3 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In the introduction to Breazeale's 1988 "Fichte: Early Philosophical Works" (pp. 8-9), it is clear that no one really knows why it was published without Fichte's name. The most likely explanation, says Breazeale, is that the Publisher *wanted* the confusion about authorship, in order to sell more books. After all, many people (including professional reviewers) did take it for another work of Kant's. Whether it was a ploy to sell more books or not, the result was that a lot of books were sold. JoshNarins (talk) 14:17, 10 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is not logical to say that the publisher omitted Fichte's name because he wanted the public to think that the book was written by Kant. The reason that it is not logical is that Kant was a known author who had written many books. As such, he would never have published an anonymous book or a book that didn't have his name listed as the author. A book without an author's name would never have been thought to be a book by Kant.Lestrade (talk) 15:37, 16 July 2008 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]
As I understand it, the reason for having a book on religion published anonymously would be the repressive climate for religious writing in Germany at that time. That, plus Fichte's intentionally Kantian style, plus the general expectation that Kant would produce another book to resolve problems within the Critical Philosophy (which the Attempt, well, attempted), all contributed to the widespread conviction that Kant had written the book. Besides, anonymous publishing was a common practice at the time, even by well-known authors.
Whether or not a publisher would be sufficiently wily to predict all of this, and unscrupulous enough to cash in on it, is certainly debatable. But we--including, to all appearances, Fichte and Kant--have no idea what actually happened. Hansonfan (talk) 22:31, 20 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Of course, we weren't there at the time. Also, we can't read minds. All we have are probabilities and logic. We can only ask ourselves, "Would a famous professor like Kant publish an anonymous book?" It seems that the best attitude toward this topic is scepticism. Therefore, we can't make definite assertions and claims that the publisher most likely wanted the confusion in order to sell books.Lestrade (talk) 17:24, 21 July 2008 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]

Oh, I absolutely agree. But what's written in the article are the published citable speculations, which respond more to the question "Would Kant have published a book anonymously to avoid getting dragged in front of Frederick II and his advisors?" And the answer is, "Most of Germany thought he would." Which isn't entirely unreasonable, since the strictures on theologians had become more and more strict, at least one of his colleagues had been forced to openly recant his work (J.G. Hasse), and the authorities had identified Kant as someone they needed to shut down (Woltersdorf tried to prevent him from writing further).
Kant usually went ahead and published under his own name by claiming that his works were philosophical rather than theological, but the credulity of the educated German public indicates that no one would have blamed him for holding back (plus his Religion withn the Boundaries of Mere Reason wouldn't have been published for another year, so no one really knew what he would do with a book primarily about theological topics). These conditions are described in the Intro to the Cambridge Edition's Religion and Rational Theology. Hansonfan (talk) 19:16, 21 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

anti semitism[edit]

I took the liberty to correct the sentence: "In regards to Jews getting 'rights' he wrote.." to include a more complete quote ("civil rights"). In fact Fichte wrote: "Human rights they must have, though they they don't concede those to us; because they are humans and their injustice does not give us the right to become like them... But to give them civil rights I see no means but to cut off all their heads in one night, and to set new ones on their shoulders, which should contain not a single Jewish idea"

To the above poster: please sign your statements. In any event, someone has obviously reverted your correction, it seems that the facts don't matter. I added a citation tag to the statement that Fichte had a "deep impact" on the Neo-Nazi movement. It seems obvious that there is no link, other than Fichte's cultural anti-semitism (Neo-Nazi as in post-WWII? Why not Nazi? etc.), but I know better than to wade into these waters. To try to argue that anti-semitic doesn't automatically equate with Nazism (Fichte had been dead for a century) never gets very far on Wikipedia. (talk) 15:59, 1 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As I wrote above in the discussion, it wasn't Fichte's anti-semitism, it was his hyper-Germanism. Fichte has bad words for non-Protestants, and non-Lutherans, and, well, everyone else on Earth except the German. It was republished in 1922, but I do not know how many issues were sold, nor to whom. JoshNarins (talk) 14:19, 10 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Regarding Fichte's comments on the Jewish people, it would be more accurate to at least provide specific, concrete references to his works and writings (and even the context if possible). Hence, I will try to track down where the original comments come from in Fichte's writings. Dydimus (talk) 09:44, 20 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think it's interesting that Fichte's actual philosophy has been substantially edited out of the article on him, with the author actually saying that Fichte's writings aren't understandable. But there's a section on anti-semitism. Yay! Folks don't have the time to actually read and understand what he wrote but you do have the time to label him a hardcore anti-semite. In "The Romantic Imperative"by Frederick C. Beiser, it's revealed that Fichte was in fact one of the staunchest supporters of the French Revolution during the late 18th and early 19th century and only came around to ultra-nationalism later in life. But Beiser is a German, so who can trust him? Anti-semitism the whole way!!!! Balabanikov (talk) 02:04, 31 August 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Professional philosophers detest psychology with a visceral, burning contempt and hatred. Why isn't Fichte disparaged by them? Next to Berkeley, his philosophy is the utmost in subjectivity and idealism.Lestrade (talk) 23:54, 17 July 2008 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]

Typical sloppy use of words[edit]

Aren't words the most important means of communication here? The title of Fichte's Wissenschaftslehre is commonly mistranslated as Science of Logic. Its correct translation is Doctrine of Science or Science of Knowledge. "Die Wissenschaft" means "science," "learning," or "knowledge." "Die Lehre" means "doctrine," "teaching," or even "science." There is no translation of any of these words to mean "logic." The Germans have decided to use "Die Logik" to mean "logic." The article should consistently use either the completely erroneous common mistranslation or the correct translation.Lestrade (talk) 16:09, 24 June 2009 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]

Showing ignorance[edit]

In the "Fichte's philosophical writings" section, there is reference to "'things in themselves', the supra-sensible reality beyond the categories of human reason." Anyone who has opened Kant's book knows that the Kantian categories are pure concepts of the understanding and have nothing to do with reason.Lestrade (talk) 20:02, 7 May 2010 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]

Atheism Dispute[edit]

His biography needs to reference the atheism dispute, where charges of atheisms forced him to resign from the university at jenna. Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi was involved in the dispute and I have started to add it to his page. لسلام عليكم - يونس الوجدي گونزاليس (talk) 22:49, 19 August 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Darkstar1: Since Google Books doesn't allow me to read p. 70 of the cited book, you will have to provide a longer quotation here, because I suspect that your interpretation is a misrepresentation of the source. --Saddhiyama (talk) 09:24, 21 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

actually i do not, see: however, since you are the first person to actually engage me on a source, i will be happy to do so. Darkstar1st (talk) 09:30, 21 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
2nd paragraph, p70 "in his 1800 , the closed commercial state, fichte imagines the good life in terms of an achieved (and eventually seal-off) state which, in closing itself off to worldy competition, would dispel all conflict and exist in peace and happiness. *more too come Darkstar1st (talk) 09:35, 21 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
cont* the state would be socialistic in that what a citizen has and can expect to have is determined by need; economics function by 'an absolute balance or value' of resources, overseen by the state, rather than by a drive to profit; and the stability of the whole is guaranteed by the state which unifies all its disparate elements ( the individuals who make it up) by 'a great deal of business and many calculations and inspections in order to keep a stable equilibrium.' *more Darkstar1st (talk) 09:40, 21 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
cont* this closed state, according to fichte, will also produce a robust national feeling; in it 'a high degree of national honour and a sharply distinguished national character are bound to arise very quickly. As robert nisbet argues, fichte extended the idea of the nation-state from a legal-political entity to one in which all human needs, including moral and spiritual ones, could be met: 'he is the true author of national socialism.' Darkstar1st (talk) 09:45, 21 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
the reason you gave was "misrepresentation of source" after admitting you did not read the source. your revert was at 9:22, at 9:24 you make the above post. how can you claim i misrepresented the source if you didn't read it? Darkstar1st (talk) 10:04, 21 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I had browsed the pages that I was allowed to read in Google Books of the cited book, and as such suspected it. And I was partly correct. The quotation you provided does not directly link Nisbets claim with a further support for the idea. Nisbets claim still stands alone, and as such is probably fringe. --Saddhiyama (talk) 10:19, 21 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I can find several places that seem to agree that Fichte is one of the fathers of german nationalism, so that doesn't seem to be fringe. However, only this one person seems to have called him "the true author of National Socialism" so that claim has to be seen as a fringe claim, I think. --OpenFuture (talk) 10:11, 21 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

do you have a source for the fringe claim? Darkstar1st (talk) 10:13, 21 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's not how it works. If it is a fringe claim it would not necessarily be mentioned by other scholars. You will need to find further sources that backs up the claim made by Nisbet. --Saddhiyama (talk) 10:15, 21 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
ok, "The same holds the causes of National Socialism—although since the Nazi regime went so horribly wrong, there is perhaps some reluctance to name names. Yet naming names is sometimes crucial if we are going to get to the historical heart of the matter. What philosophers can we cite in the case of the Nazis? Several names are candidates: Georg Hegel, Johann Fichte, even elements from Karl Marx.", Stephen Hicks, Ph.D Darkstar1st (talk) 10:28, 21 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is just data mining for sources to support a POV. Olive Schreiner and the progress of feminism is not an obvious source for a an article about a German philosopher. Darkstar1st misrepresents the source which says "Nisbet called him the true author of national-socialism"[2] to Nisbet declared him "the true author of National Socialism" (with a piped link). Nisbet was referring to the 19th century German ideology, not Nazism which is clear to anyone who reads the section in the book or Nisbet, who wrote, "It is no wonder that Lasalle and a good many other proponents of national-socialism would for a long time treat Fichte with reverence".[3] Clearly he was writing about the 19th century ideology of Ferdinand Lasalle, not the 20th century ideology of Nazism. TFD (talk) 16:53, 21 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
tfd, you may have confused the article on the nazi party or nazi germany with the article on national socialism. it is not up to us to interpret the rs, rather report it. i choose Olivia to use as the source when i could have simply sourced nisbet himself. my effort was an attempt to avoid typing out the entire passage by providing a link anyone could verify online. if you would read olivia your opinion of the relevance feminism and socialism would certainly change. your above claim amounts to me using the word "declared", instead of "called", exactly how is that a misrepresentation? would you be satisfied if i changed the word back? Darkstar1st (talk) 07:53, 22 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The piped link national socialism goes to Nazism which is not even mentioned in the writings used as a source. Nisbet used the term "national-socialism", not "national socialism". It is misleading to imply to readers that they are the same thing. It is interesting that you feel so passionately about trying to prove that Nazism=socialism yet are unable to find any sources to support your view. This is not the place to publish your original opinions. TFD (talk) 12:35, 22 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The article translates "setzen" as "set." It is usually translated, in articles about German Idealism, as "posit" in the sense of "postulate" or "assume the existence of." Fichte and the German Idealists were prolific positers.Lestrade (talk) 19:10, 12 September 2012 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]


I just deleted the criticism section, which was very small and extremely vague, and added this comment: "Criticism is extremely vague, so I am deleting it. It consists of merely one author classifying a group of thinkers as the basis for......x (in this case, authoritarianism). We've seen it all before, cf. Walter Kaufmann's chapter on Popper's view of Hegel in his From Hegel to Existentialism." — Preceding unsigned comment added by Caute AF (talkcontribs) 02:55, 21 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"true author of National Socialism"[edit]

I reverted this edit: such extraordinary claims require solid evidence, and a quotation from an unrelated book (Carolyn Burdett, Olive Schreiner and the progress of feminism: evolution, gender, empire, Palgrave Macmillan, 2001, p. 70) does not suffice. It could be argued that many elements of German nationalism paved the way for National Socialism, but calling him the "author" thereof is quite a leap.

There's obviously a lot more to be said--there's plenty of sourcing for a big fat paragraph on the use of Fichte by Nazi ideologists (same with Nietzsche, as Sluga points out) and what that has done for his reputation. But it's late. Drmies (talk) 06:03, 18 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If Fichte's name has been associated, whether rightly or wrongly, with National Socialism, then the article obviously ought to say something about that. I'm not sure that removing the existening reference is the right thing to do, but I won't restore it, as I seem to have been outvoted. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 06:39, 18 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Dabbing on guilt by association on random people, alive or dead, isn't very encyclopaedic. (talk) 07:54, 18 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
By the way, there's nothing particularly surprising about Fichte's ideal state taking on some elements of dictatorship. His ideas about nationhood and the mission of the German nation took shape during the Napoleonic age, when Napoleon and the French seemed both the model for what could be achieved through national unifcation and the gravest of all threats to Germany. F. was passionately committed to making Germans feel a sense of unity and then act upon it, and at that time the only way to create that kind of national spirit would have seemed linked, first off, to driving Napoleon's army out.
From the example of Napoleon, Frederick the Great, Julius Caesar or any other successful ruler and military commander known at the time, this could only be achieved by rallying around a dictator, at least for the time being. Organizing a democracy was not on the map, even less so since there wasn't any unified German state to build on. Elements of dictatorship yes, but it's more of an idealized communist or national dictatorship than a Fascist one. (talk) 07:54, 18 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
i added the text with citation about two years ago after a lengthy discussion, so removing it without consensus is a violation of BRD. Darkstar1st (talk) 08:30, 18 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The consensus at the time was against inserting it. Anyway in whatever shape Nisbet wrote or said those words it was
  • non-notable (he is no kind of authority or RS on the history of philosophy)
  • a botched citation: no one has provided an original citation for where Nisbet wrote it, the only cite is from a few words in passing in Burdett's book quoting it. Plus, no context.
  • unsatisfactory for such a sweeping and controversial allegation.
  • a subject on which we would need the opinions of other scholars. And of course there are a few who have written about Fichte and the development of German nationalism. (talk) 09:27, 18 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Is that lengthy discussion the section "Nisbet" above? Because the IP is correct in their assessment: there clearly was no consensus for inserting/keeping it. Drmies (talk) 15:06, 18 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, that's the one I've been referring to as the prior discussion. Clearly no consensus for bringing in the Fichte/Nazism claim. Whether there was a consensus against is a bit harder to say, but if you define 'consensus' as when every single person agrees on the main points', which people sometimes do here on WP, then technically it would be sufficient that one person refuses to admit that his arguments clearly didn't stand up to the scrutiny of discussion for that person, or his buddies outside, to say: no consensus and the vote is still out. That kind of thing can ~be hard to avoid, for some reason... (talk) 15:58, 18 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I can only repeat that if there are suitable sources dealing with Fichte's influence on Nazism, real or alleged, then they ought to be included in the article. The IP's comment above ("Dabbing on guilt by association on random people, alive or dead, isn't very encyclopaedic") doesn't amount to a rational argument, and doesn't seem to need any rebuttal. Obviously, Fichte is a major historical figure, not a "random" person. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 20:19, 18 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

additional scholarly sources[edit]

Transactions and Encounters: Science and Culture in the Nineteenth Century Roger Luckhurst, Josephine McDonagh Manchester University Press, 2002, p222 also makes reference to the claim, w/footnote citing the source. Darkstar1st (talk) 10:27, 18 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Even if Nisbet did write something to that effect, that doesn't automatically make it notable in itself and on its own. Claims and counterclaims are being made all the time in the academic community, just because a book was printed by a university it doesn't mean everything said in such books is equally reliable or worth including here. (talk) 11:38, 18 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
two unrelated scholarly publications stated he did, AND supplied footnotes, your concerns should be addressed at the rs noticeboard, after re-reading wp:truth. what makes Nisbet's claim notable is that it is not on its own, instead the claim is repeated in other rs. do you have a specific objection to the source based on policy, if so, which? Darkstar1st (talk) 12:45, 18 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
WP:REDFLAG: "Any exceptional claim requires multiple high-quality sources". We would need more sources from historians of political theory and less from sociologists to support that kind of extraordinary claim. --Saddhiyama (talk) 14:47, 18 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Somebody's really eager for their fifteen minutes of fame here? "Look honey, I found a cite and got it in that Fichte was the godfather of Nazism, yay me!" ;)
Look, neither of the books you've dug up are written by people who have any real notability within studies of philosophy, or the history of political philosophy. And that includes Nisbet himself, he was a sociologist. (this post written before Saddhiyama's helpful intervention) (talk) 14:58, 18 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For such a claim, I think the first thing would be to cite the scholar himself, not sources that quote him; I'm surprised I don't see the original mentioned here. 83, I'm trying to make this point cleanly: there is no need for snark, so please leave that out. Drmies (talk) 15:12, 18 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
cut off all their heads in one night, and set new ones on their shoulders, which should not contain a single Jewish idea, Fichte Hitler's Private Library: The Books That Shaped His Life. I think Hitler mentioning your book as his inspiration deserves some note, perhaps "author" could be replaced with "writer"? Darkstar1st (talk) 16:17, 18 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Your book"? Do you read me, Fichte? - For the record, in case Fichte uttered ideas hostile to jews or jewish culture, he was in no way the first one to spell out such things. (talk) 20:03, 18 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Darkstar, I know your MO is to play heavily on WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT in order to push your fringe POV agenda into articles, but you should know by now that such an edit would constitute WP:OR. At least countless editors, including myself, have tried to inform you about those policies for years. All in vain it seems.--Saddhiyama (talk) 10:28, 19 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Darkstar, the possible (or well, somewhat likely) presence of entisemitic ideas doesn't mean there has to be any connection to Nazism. The two don't share a common family tree, it's perfectly possible for someone to be hostile to jews or to some traits of Jewish culture without being a Nazi. Now I know this is hard, but please note that this is not a moral judgment: I am no more interested in defending the ideas in question than you are. Thank you. You are simply not offering any kind of sound sources for the claim you so desperately want in.
As for Nisbet, it's not even certain that his quick remark about Fichte and "national socialism" actually refers to the kind of ideology Hitler put himself at the helm of. Someone noted in the discussion above two years ago that there were other strands of political thinking in Germany over the course of the 19th century which used the moniker "national socialism" but didn't have anything much to do with the later ideology of Hitler several decades later. Some of Lassalle's ideas, for instance. (talk) 22:13, 26 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

additional sources part 2[edit]

Metapolitics: From Wagner and the German Romantics to Hitler, original edition 1941 Knopf, new edition 2004, p194

  • Fichte is the first influential German who consciously and systematically combined Nationalism with Socialism and with a totalitarian system of education. That makes him a special Nazi hero today.
  • Starting the myth of racial purity, Fichte calls Germans the most unmixed of all peoples and closest to mystic powers of nature. Darkstar1st (talk) 11:32, 19 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You couldn’t have found anything more recent than 1941? There were lots of books and newspaper articles written during the two world wars boldly theorizing that Germans were an especially depraved and bloodthirsty people, or inherently anti-democratic, even by academics and respected writers, but we wouldn’t pull those in as sources for an article on German society or even WW2.
Anyway, you seem a bit obsessed with the idea that Hitler was exclusively influenced by German writers and theorists; only Germans could have influenced a man like Hitler. Or perhaps, Hitler would have been so convinced of german superiority that he only read books in German written by native German speakers. Actually, like most people back then Hitler had no trouble borrowing from people writing in other languages, and the same goes for most of those who influenced his thinking. So permit me to indicate to you one of the first guys in the modern western world who fashioned a theory of history built on hereditary race:
The English Wiki entry on the guy doesn’t mention any of what’s pertinent here, the French one has much more, but I’ll translate the latter part of the text above because it gives a quick and clear summary
“However, it is the origins of the nobility /of France/ and its conditions that were of special interest to him, surfacing in A Memoir for /Defending/ the Noble families of France against Dukes and Peers (1717) and even more in Essays on the Hereditary Nobility of France (1732). In the second of these works, Boulainvilliers expounds a theory which was to achieve some influence, though he was not, strictly speaking, the first to propose it; other theorists such as Charles Loyseau had offered some seeds of the same idea. The Franks, in conquering Gaul had established their own rule and their methods of government and from them the nobility had descended. The conquered Gallo-Romans had been turned into slaves and from them originated the third estate; this domination of one race over another explained and justified the privileges of the nobility. This theory would find itself rehashed by Montesquieu, in particular, but does not correspond to historical reality.”
The third estate, of course, were the vast masses of the people, and during the French revolution the noble theory would simply get turned on its head for a while: if the Franks/the nobles had simply been armed conquerors and robbers, okay, then they had to face the noble revenge of those whose ancestors they had pillaged and enslaved. I’m not saying Hitler had read that man, but de Boulainvillers was one of the first to methodically try to explain historical events well into his own day in terms of a master people (race) showing the superiority of its blood and its customs. He was influential – sometimes through other people picking up his ideas, like Montesquieu and Napoleon, maybe Burke and Edward Gibbon too – and he was French, not German. There is no point in trying to restrict the thinking that influenced Hitler to just Germans, he is known to have read widely. And some of the people whose ideas fed into the traditions leading up to him he wouldn’t even have read personally: it was an indirect influence, much like modern Americans can be influenced by Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt or by the old puritans without ever having read much of them in their own words. (talk) 13:04, 19 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
do you have a specific objection other than the date of this source, if so based on which wp:policy? Darkstar1st (talk) 13:31, 19 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Too old, and obviously biased, unless the sweeping claims he makes are backed by several more recent and much more prominent ones. And I pointed out in the first lines of my post that some books written during the world wars (in Britain and America too) stated lots of things that were not backed by anything more than the writer's own mouth and agenda. He was twenty-five at the time, and it's not as if it's a scholarly work of history though he did become a professor of history later in life. See WP:REDFLAG as indicated above: extraordinary claims require very good and multiple, high-quality sources (does not equal just two or three drive-by statements lifted from some books)
I would advice you to do something more productive for this discussion than trawling Google Books for the notions you'd like to see up front in the article. (talk) 13:52, 19 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Rohan Butler in his book The Roots of National Socialism gives extended treatment to Fichte as a source of National Socialism and claims many similarities between Fichte's ideas and the Nazis: "The words are different: Lebensraum and Gleichschaltung do not appear; it is yet not erstaz but stellvertretend, not Einmarschierung but Occupationszug. But the ideas are the same. This embryonic German socialism is national-socialism" (p. 44). Karl Dietrich Bracher in his The German Dictatorship says: "The genesis of National Socialism does, indeed, point back to the beginning of the nineteenth century. The national reaction to the Napoleonic perversion of the French Revolution is embodied in Fichte's famous Addresses to the German Nation (1807-8), a widely read book which was to play a vital role" (pp. 38-39) and later (p. 40) claims Fichte "established the basis for a volkisch ideology".--Britannicus (talk) 23:08, 26 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I was recently Allen W. Wood's book Fichte's Ethical Thought (2016) where he discusses the adoption of Fitche by the Nazis: "Over a century later, and under very different circumstances, the German idealism of the Addresses was notoriously appealed to by the Nazis. It is reported, for instance, that Leni Riefenstahl chose the works of Fichte to give her beloved Furher as a birthday present. Such ugly associations still haunt Fichte's legacy. Given the monstrous role played by German nationalism in the first half of the twentieth century, it is difficult for us to think back to a time when German national pride could have taken more innocent forms. To me it seems absurd to describe Fichte - or anyone in a world that was still over a hundred years removed from twentieth-century horrors - as a Nazi or proto-Nazi. But this has been one quite common emotional reaction to Fichte's Addresses. This reaction appeals to those looking for an easy way of attesting to their own purity of mind by distancing themselves from anything that could conceivably bear the taint of Nazism - especially to those who have barely heard of Fichte and know little else about him" (25-26).

I think the nationalism section should be severely edited or mostly scrapped. It relies almost entirely on one author (Anderson) who did not even write primarily on Fichte. I'm going to attempt to improve the section. 2607:FEA8:620:4F2:F491:3D2C:A747:72B8 (talk) 06:18, 9 January 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Nationalism Section[edit]

I recently edited the nationalism section to reflect the most recent Fichte scholarship. Hopefully the changes will satisfy everyone here. To summarize the changes: (1) the contents of the Address to the German Nation are more clearly summarized, (2) Fichte's adoption by Nazi thinkers and the way in which this coloured readings of his nationalism in the post-war period is discussed, (3) the contemporary scholarship and its views on Fichte's nationalism and his supposed antisemitism are discussed with both sides of the argument being laid out. Hopefully this will make everyone happy. 2607:FEA8:620:4F2:F491:3D2C:A747:72B8 (talk) 07:09, 9 January 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What's with the part that says Fichte couldn't have been motivated by Prussia's defeats? Berlin was captured in 1806. (talk) 17:44, 10 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Fichte's Philosophy[edit]

(Advance apologies for making two new sections). This article needs some attention from a serious Fichte scholar. I've fixed the nationalism section to the best of my ability, but the sections on the main aspects of Fichte's philosophy are astoundingly bad. There is no serious discussion of Fichte's philosophy of right or his ethical system, which were the only two parts of his philosophy which were completed. His Science is considered by some contemporary Fichte scholars to be incomprehensible in places because it was never finished; that's not a slight against Fichte, just an observation that its weird the article focuses on his incomplete work but makes no mention of the parts of his system which were complete. In fairness this is not surprising - because historically scholars gave Fichte's Science undo priority over his over works - but it does need to be fixed. I would do more but I'm not a Fichte scholar, just some grad student in unrelated areas of philosophy. 2607:FEA8:620:4F2:F491:3D2C:A747:72B8 (talk) 07:33, 9 January 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Nationalism Section feels thesis-driven[edit]

Is it just me, or does the tone of the Nationalism section come across as a thesis-driven persuasive essay defending Fichte from accusations of having an ideology like the Nazis'? Some sentences are phrased as if they are responding to accusations, and to some extent the subsection's structure is too.

Take this sentence: "Furthermore, his nationalism was not aroused by Prussian military defeat and humiliation, for these had not yet occurred, but resulted from his own humanitarian philosophy." I have a few concerns: (1) who claimed that his nationalism came from Prussian military defeat and humiliation? If somebody did, then we should cite them; if not, why include the sentence? (2) Calling his philosophy "humanitarian" strikes me like an endorsement of, or at least compliment to, his philosophy -- like calling his philosophy "benevolent."

A minor example is the phrasing "The nationalism propounded by Fichte in the Addresses would be used over a century later by the Nazi Party." Calling it "over a century later" sounds like the kind of phrasing I would use to emphasize the distance Fichte from the Nazis rather than a neutral description.

The most egregious example is at the end: "While recent scholarship has sought to dissociate Fichte's writings on nationalism with their adoption by the Nazi Party, the association continues to blight his legacy, although Fichte, as if to exclude all ground of doubt, clearly and distinctly prohibits [...] genocide and other crimes against humanity." Why do we need to assert that he "clearly and distinctly" opposes genocide? Again, it feels like defending against an accusation.

Maybe it is totally fine that the section is written in this tone/framing, IDK. But it strikes me as inconsistent with NPOV. GregConan (talk) 04:25, 16 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]