(.pdf & .epub)
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.