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
Paperback : 9781438495941, 347 pages, August 2024
Expected to ship: 2024-08-02

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Table of contents

Gabriel Gottlieb and Benjamin D. Crowe

Part 1. The Continuity Question

1. The Absolute and the 1804 Wissenschaftslehre
C. Jeffery Kinlaw

2. “You Can’t Get There from Here”: Fichte’s (Unwritten) 1799 Review (nach der Principien der Wissenschaftslehre) of the 1804 Wissenschaftslehre
Daniel Breazeale

3. The First Principle in the Later Fichte: The (Not) “Surprising Insight” in the Fifteenth Lecture of the 1804 Wissenschaftslehre
Michael Lewin

4. Fichte’s Reader and the Autopoiesis of the Wissenschaftslehre, 1794–1804
Andrew J. Mitchell

Part 2. Key Concepts

5. Into Death’s Lair: Truth, Appearance, and the Irrational Gap in Fichte’s 1804 Wissenschaftslehre
Matthew Nini

6. Nothing Remains: Notes on Fichte’s “Irrational Gap” in the 1804 Wissenschaftslehre
F. Scott Scribner

7. Pure Light and the Promethean Self of Fichte’s 1804 Wissenschaftslehre
Kit Slover

8. The Odyssey of the “Through” (das Durch)
M. Jorge de Carvalho

9. The “We” of Speculative Philosophy
Benjamin D. Crowe

Part 3. System and Idealism

10. The Quintuple Quintuplicity of Forms of (Self-)Consciousness in Fichte’s 1804 Wissenschaftslehre
Emiliano Acosta

11. Immanent Thinking and the Activity of Philosophizing in Fichte’s 1804 Wissenschaftslehre
Angelica Nuzzo

12. Fichte’s 1804 Wissenschaftslehre: A Possible Reply to Schelling’s Bruno
Michael Vater

13. Fichte contra Idealism in the 1804 Wissenschaftslehre
Michael Steinberg

14. The Self-Justification of Fichte’s Philosophy
Jacinto Rivera de Rosales†

15. Blockchain as Fichtean Problem
Adam Hankins

16. Is Fichte a Kantian, a German Idealist, Both, or Neither?
Tom Rockmore


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