Fichte's life and works
Johann Gottlieb Fichte was born on May 19, 1762 in Rammenau, Saxony (in the eastern part of today's Germany). He studied theology and law at Jena, Wittenberg and Leipzig without taking a degree (1784–1788) and served as a private tutor in several families in Saxony, Prussia and Switzerland (1784–1793). In 1790, upon studying Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (1781) and Critique of Practical Reason (1788), he became an enthusiastic adherent and supporter of Kant's Critical philosophy. Indeed, when his first publication, Attempt at a Critique of All Revelation (1792) appeared anonymously, it was widely assumed to be a work by Kant himself. Kant publicly declared Fichte to be the author of the latter work and thereby launched Fichte's meteoric philosophical career. He was offered a professorship at the University of Jena, where he began teaching in the Summer Semester 1794. During his five years at Jena, Fichte's widely attended lectures and numerous publications exercised a tremendous influence on German philosophical and literary culture.
Fichte's major works from his Jena period are Concerning the Concept of the Wissenschaftslehre (1794), Foundation of the Entire Wissenschaftslehre (1794–1795), Foundation of Natural Right (1796–1797), Attempt at a New Presentation of the Wissenschaftslehre (1797–1798), and The System of Ethics (1798). His lectures on the Wissenschaftslehre nova methodo (1796–1799), which are preserved only in student transcripts, are also central documents for any informed understanding of Fichte's early system.
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