Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 May 2021
The aim of the chapter is to shed light on some of the most original elements of Fichte’s conception of morality as expressed in his account of specific obligations. After some remarks on Fichte’s original classification of ethical duties, the chapter focuses on the prohibition of lying, the duty to communicate our true knowledge, and the duty to set a good example. Fichte’s account of those duties not only goes beyond the mere justification of universally acknowledged demands, but also deploys different arguments than his contemporaries, most notably Kant. Fichte thereby sketches a conception of morality in which the agent is crucially required to contribute to the morality of others. The chapter explores the contrast between Fichte’s view and Kant’s thought of an end in itself and suggests that Fichte’s view of morality amounts to a form of normative perfectionism that is qualified by the underlying claim of the agent-neutral character of moral demands.
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