Contribution to the Correction of the Public's Judgments on the French Revolution

By J. G. Fichte
Edited and translated by Jeffrey Church, Anna Marisa Schön
Introduction by Jeffrey Church, and Anna Marisa Schön

Subjects: German Idealism, Political Philosophy, Political Theory, European History
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Paperback : 9781438482163, 280 pages, July 2021
Hardcover : 9781438482170, 280 pages, March 2021

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Table of contents

Introduction
Translators' Note
Chronology

Contribution to the Correction of the Public's Judgments on the French Revolution

Book One: On Judging the Legitimacy of a Revolution

Preface
Introduction

1. Does a People Actually Have the Right to Change Its Constitution?

2. Sketch of the Further Course of the Examination

3. Is the Right to Change the Constitution Alienable through the Contract of All with All?

4. On Privileged Classes in General, in Relation to the Right of Changing the State

5. On the Aristocracy in Particular, in Relation to the Right of Constitutional Change

6. On the Church, in Relation to the Right of Constitutional Change

Afterword
Appendix One: Correspondence
Appendix Two: Review by Friedrich von Gentz
Glossary
Index

First translation into English of Fichte’s major work on the French Revolution.

Description

The reception history of the French Revolution in France and England is well documented among Anglophone scholars; however, the debate over the Revolution in Germany is much less well known. Fichte's Contribution played an important role in this debate. Presented here for the first time in English, Fichte's work provides a distinctive synthesis of Locke's "possessive individualism," Rousseau's general will, and Kant's moral philosophy. This eclectic blend results in an unusual rights theory that at times veers close to a form of anarchism. Written in 1792–93, just before Fichte moved to Jena to develop his philosophical system in a series of works—above all the Wissenschaftslehre of 1794—the Contribution provides invaluable insight into Fichte's early development. In addition, Fichte's work predates much of Kant's political philosophy, and can shed light on the rich dialogue in German political thought in the 1790s.

Jeffrey Church is Professor of Political Science at the University of Houston. His books include Infinite Autonomy: The Divided Individual in the Political Thought of G. W. F. Hegel and Friedrich Nietzsche. Anna Marisa Schön is a PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of Houston.