Fichte's theory of intersubjectivity
This thesis rejects the traditional picture of Fichte as a 'philosopher of subjectivity' who conceives of reality as the product of an 'absolute subject'. In opposition to this view, this thesis presents Fichte as a philosopher of intersubjectivity, whose primary concern is with relations between subjects. It argues that the true originality of Fichte's philosophy lies in his claim that intersubjectivity is a condition of the possibility of self- consciousness. Part 1 of this thesis defends Fichte's claim that Kant's transcendental idealism requires an account of how we recognize other rational beings. It seeks to demonstrate the necessity of such an account by examining the role of intersubjectivity within Kant's transcendental philosophy. Chapters 1, 2 and 3 deal, respectively, with the significance of intersubjectivity for Kant's accounts of theoretical reason, practical reason and the unity of reason. Part 2 of this thesis considers Fichte's attempt to develop a theory of intersubjectivity within his system of transcendental philosophy or Wissenschaftslehre. Chapter 4 considers Fichte's conception of such a system, and stresses the importance of political, ethical and pedagogical themes to this conception. Chapter 5 provides a detailed discussion of Fichte's first serious treatment of the topic of intersubjectivity — Some Lectures Concerning the Scholar's Vocation. Chapter 6 seeks to provide a reading of Fichte's first presentation of the 'foundations' of his system that is consistent with his concern with intersubjectivity. Chapters 7 provide an extensive discussion of Fichte's most complete presentation of his theory of intersubjectivity — the Foundations of Natural Right.