Correspondence and texts by Fichte and Schelling illuminate their thought and the trajectory of their philosophical falling out.
The disputes of philosophers provide a place to view their positions and arguments in a tightly focused way, and also in a manner that is infused with human temperaments and passions. Fichte and Schelling had been perceived as "partners" in the cause of Criticism or transcendental idealism since 1794, but upon Fichte's departure from Jena in 1799, each began to perceive a drift in their fundamental interests and allegiances. Schelling's philosophy of nature seemed to move him toward a realistic philosophy, while Fichte's interests in the origin of personal consciousness, intersubjectivity, and the ultimate determination of the agent's moral will moved him to explore what he called "faith" in one popular text, or a theory of an intelligible world. This volume brings together the letters the two philosophers exchanged between 1800 and 1802 and the texts that each penned with the other in mind.
Michael G. Vater is Associate Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Marquette University. He translated and edited Schelling's Bruno or On the Natural and Divine Principle of Things, also published by SUNY Press. David W. Wood is a postdoctoral researcher at the Fichte Commission at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Germany. He translated and edited Novalis's Notes for a Romantic Encyclopaedia: Das Allgemeine Brouillon, also published by SUNY Press.
"…Michael G. Vater and David W. Wood's volume amounts to an immeasurable service for the English-speaking world." — Clio
"The book presents an unparalleled opportunity to observe an important set of [Fichte and Schelling's] philosophical exchanges and has the potential to affect one's understanding of post-Kantian philosophy in a lasting way … This well-conceived and carefully edited volume shines a bright light on a crucial and formative time in the lives of both Fichte and Schelling." — Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
"Vater and Wood have given us a real gift: a strong and philosophically provocative edition of this indispensible exchange. A thoughtful and very helpful essay that puts many of the issues into a fresh philosophical perspective precedes the letters, and some of the important primary texts germane to this debate follow them. For lovers of German idealism, this is a text of great interest and its appearance calls for celebration." — Jason M. Wirth, author of The Conspiracy of Life: Meditations on Schelling and His Time