Fichte's Vocation of Man

New Interpretive and Critical Essays

Edited by Daniel Breazeale & Tom Rockmore

Subjects: German Idealism
Paperback : 9781438447643, 329 pages, July 2014
Hardcover : 9781438447636, 329 pages, November 2013

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Table of contents

Key to Abbreviations
Introduction: The Checkered Reception of Fichte’s The Vocation of Man
Daniel Breazeale
1. “An Other and Better World”: Fichte’s The Vocation of Man as a Theological-Political Treatise
Günter Zóller
2. Fichte’s Philosophical Bildungsroman
Benjamin Crowe
3. Bestimmung as Bildung: On Reading Fichte’s Vocation of Man as a Bildungsroman
Elizabeth Millán
4. Knowledge Teaches Us Nothing: The Vocation of Man as Textual Initiation
Michael Steinberg
5. J. G. Fichte’s Vocation of Man: An Effort to Communicate
Yolanda Estes
6. “Interest”: An Overlooked Protagonist in Book I of Fichte’s Bestimmung des Menschen
M. Jorge de Almeida Carvalho
7. The Dialectic of Judgment and The Vocation of Man
Wayne Martin
8. The Traction of the World, or Fichte on Practical Reason and the Vocation of Man
Tom Rockmore
9. Fichte’s Conception of Infinity in the Bestimmung des Menschen
David W. Wood
10. Intersubjectivity and the Communality of Our Final End in Fichte’s Vocation of Man
Kien-How Goh
11. Evil and Moral Responsibility in The Vocation of Man
Jane Dryden
12. Jumping the Transcendental Shark: Fichte’s “Argument of Belief” in Book III of Die Bestimmung des Menschen and the Transition from the Earlier to the Later Wissenschaftslehre
Daniel Breazeale
13. Determination and Freedom in Kant and in Fichte’s Bestimmung des Menschen
Angelica Nuzzo
14. “There is in nature an original thinking power, just as there is an original formative power. ” On a Claim from Book One of The Vocation of Man
Violetta L. Waibel

15. Erkenntnis and Interesse: Schelling’s System of Transcendental Idealism and Fichte’s Vocation of Man
Michael Vater
16. Faith and Knowledge and Vocation of Man: A Comparison between Hegel and Fichte
Marco Ivaldo
17. The Vocation of Postmodern Man: Why Fichte Now? Again!
Arnold Farr

New perspectives on Fichte’s best known and most popular work.


Written for a general audience during a period of intense controversy in the German philosophical community, J. G. Fichte's short book The Vocation of Man (1800) is both an introduction to and a defense of his philosophical system, and is one of the best-known contributions to German Idealism. This collection of new essays reflects a wide and instructive variety of philosophical and hermeneutic approaches, which combine to cast new light upon Fichte's familiar text. The contributors highlight some of the overlooked complexities and implications of The Vocation of Man and situate it firmly within the intellectual context within which it was originally written, relating it to the positions of Kant, Hegel, Schelling, Schlegel, Jacobi, and others. In addition, the essays relate the text to issues of contemporary concern such as the limits of language, the character of rational agency, the problem of evil, the relation of theoretical knowledge to practical belief, and the dialectic of judgment.

Daniel Breazeale is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Kentucky, Lexington. He is the editor and translator of several volumes of Fichte's writings, including Fichte: Early Philosophical Writings and Introductions to the Wissenschaftslehre and Other Writings. Tom Rockmore is McAnulty College Distinguished Professor and Professor of Philosophy at Duquesne University. He is the author of many books, including Kant and Phenomenology and In Kant's Wake: Philosophy in the Twentieth Century. Together Breazeale and Rockmore have coedited many volumes, including Rights, Bodies and Recognition: New Essays on Fichte's Foundations of Natural Right.


"…a welcome addition to the continuously expanding scholarly literature on Fichte. The volume can function as a comprehensive supplement—it contains seventeen essays—to the Vocation and is ideal for classroom use … a rich collection of essays which should be 'must-reading' for philosophers interested in the development of German Idealism and moral agency. " — Review of Metaphysics