Fichte's Addresses to the German Nation Reconsidered

Edited by Daniel Breazeale & Tom Rockmore

Subjects: Philosophy, German Idealism, Political Psychology, German Culture, History
Paperback : 9781438462547, 312 pages, July 2017
Hardcover : 9781438462554, 312 pages, September 2016

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Table of contents


Introduction. On Situating and Interpreting Fichte’s Addresses to the German Nation
Daniel Breazeale

1. From Autonomy to Automata? Fichte on Formal and Material Freedom and Moral Cultivation
Daniel Breazeale

2. Gedachtes Denken/Wirkliches Denken: A Strictly Philosophical Problem in Fichte’s Reden
Mario Jorge de Carvalho

3. Linguistic Expression in Fichte’s Addresses to the German Nation
Sıla Ozkara

4. Critique of Religion and Critical Religion in Fichte’s Addresses to the German Nation
Benjamin D. Crowe

5. Autonomy, Moral Education, and the Carving of a National Identity
C. Jeffery Kinlaw

6. Fichte’s Nationalist Rhetoric and the Humanistic Project of Bildung
Marina F. Bykova

7. The Ontological and Epistemological Background of German Nationalism in Fichte’s Addresses
Rainer Schafer

8. Fichte’s Imagined Community and the Problem of Stability
Gabriel Gottlieb

9. Rights, Recognition, Nationalism, and Fichte’s Ambivalent Politics: An Attempt at a Charitable Reading of the Addresses to the German Nation
Arnold L. Farr

10. How to Change the World: Cultural Critique and the Historical Sublime in the Addresses to the German Nation
Michael Steinberg

11. Fichte’s Addresses to the German Nation and the Philosopher as Guide
Tom Rockmore

12. World War I, the Two Germanies, and Fichte’s Addresses
Anthony N. Perovich

13. Fault Lines in Fichte’s Reden
George J. Seidel

List of Contributors

Essays on one of Fichte's best known and most controversial works.


One of J. G. Fichte's best-known works, Addresses to the German Nation is based on a series of speeches he gave in Berlin when the city was under French occupation. They feature Fichte's diagnosis of his own era in European history as well as his call for a new sense of German national identity, based upon a common language and culture rather than "blood and soil. " These speeches, often interpreted as key documents in the rise of modern nationalism, also contain Fichte's most sustained reflections on pedagogical issues, including his ideas for a new egalitarian system of Prussian national education. The contributors' reconsideration of the speeches deal not only with technical philosophical issues such as the relationship between language and identity, and the tensions between universal and particular motifs in the text, but also with issues of broader concern, including education, nationalism, and the connection between morality and politics.

Daniel Breazeale is Professor of Philosophy and Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences at the University of Kentucky. Tom Rockmore is Humanities Chair Professor and Professor of Philosophy at Peking University, China. Both have authored, edited, and translated many books. Together, they are the coeditors of Fichte's Vocation of Man: New Interpretive and Critical Essays, also published by SUNY Press.


"…wide-ranging, thoughtful, scholarly, and necessary: a welcome and much needed reconsideration of a purportedly 'toxic' text. " — Journal of the History of Philosophy