Fichte's 1804 Wissenschaftslehre

Essays on the "Science of Knowing"

Edited by Benjamin D. Crowe & Gabriel Gottlieb

Subjects: Continental Philosophy, Psychology, Religion, Spirituality
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Hardcover : 9781438495958, 347 pages, February 2024
Expected to ship: 2024-02-01

Illuminating new essays on Fichte's 1804 Wissenschaftslehre, or The Science of Knowing.


Fichte's 1804 Wissenschaftslehre, or The Science of Knowing, consists of a series of lectures he delivered in his Berlin home to members of the city's political and cultural elite in 1804. The lectures mark a dramatic shift in the terminology and methodology he uses to explore the nature of knowledge and reality as presented in his philosophical system, the Wissenschaftslehre. Although not published during his lifetime, Fichte's 1804 lectures provide a systematic update to his philosophy of knowledge and being, which was only hinted at in print in popular presentations like Characteristics of the Present Age (1805) and The Way Towards the Blessed Life (1806). In fact, these lectures contain Fichte's first public articulation of his philosophical position in the wake of the professional disaster of the "atheism controversy." This volume of new essays not only offers readers novel interpretations of the lectures but also introduces and clarifies key concepts, debates the relationship of the lectures to Fichte’s Jena presentation of the Wissenschaftslehre, and examines issues related to his method and system of idealism.

Benjamin Crowe is Lecturer in Philosophy at Boston University. He is the editor and translator of Fichte's Lectures on the Theory of Ethics (1812), also published by SUNY Press. Gabriel Gottlieb is Professor of Philosophy at Xavier University. He is the editor of Fichte's Foundation of Natural Right: A Critical Guide.


"This impressive essay collection offers a comprehensive window into Fichte's position and arguments in the 1804 Wissenschaftslehre and advances our understanding about its relation to his earlier work at Jena University. All students and scholars of Fichte will want to consult it." — Halla Kim, coeditor of Kant, Fichte, and the Legacy of Transcendental Idealism