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date: 30 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In 1811, Schopenhauer moved to Berlin, where he remained until 1813. During this time, he encountered J. G. Fichte, attending his lectures on The Facts of Consciousness (1812) and the Wissenschaftslehre (1812). Moreover, he read many of Fichte’s earlier works, including System of Ethics: According to the Principles of the Wissenschaftslehre (1798) and Foundations of Natural Right: According to the Principles of the Wissenschaftslehre (1796/97). In addition to these more academic lectures and writings, he read one of Fichte’s last popular works, Way to the Blessed Life: Or also, the Religionslehre (1806). Schopenhauer soon managed to familiarize himself with the main parts of the Wissenschaftslehre: theoretical philosophy, practical philosophy, and philosophy of the postulates. He kept notes—found in his Manuscript Remains—of his sojourns in Fichte’s transcendental idealism, or Wissenschaftsleere as he deridingly called it. In later years, he returned to Fichte’s philosophy—sometimes explicitly and sometimes implicitly—in the Basis of Morality (1840) and the World as Will and Representation (1859). In this chapter, the author uses both Schopenhauer’s early notes in the Manuscript Remains and his later published writings to show how he understood Fichte’s transcendental idealism, where he disagreed with it, and where he (sometimes grudgingly) acknowledged its value. The author argues that while Fichte and Schopenhauer share many assumptions about philosophy and subjectivity, they arrive at quite different conclusions about the ultimate value of human striving.

Keywords: Schopenhauer, Fichte, will, transcendental idealism, idealism

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