Fichte's Ethics

ISBN : 9780198849759

Michelle Kosch
208 Pages
156 x 156 mm
Pub date
Nov 2019
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One of Fichte's most important ideas - that nature can place limits on our ability to govern ourselves, and that anyone who values autonomy is thereby committed to the value of basic research and of the development of autonomy-enhancing technologies - has received little attention in the interpretative literature on Fichte, and has little currency in contemporary ethics. This volume aims to address both deficits. Beginning from a reconstruction of Fichte's theory of rational agency, this volume examines his arguments for the thesis that rational agency must have two constitutive ends: substantive and formal independence. It argues for a novel interpretation of Fichte's conception of substantive independence, and shows how Fichte's account of moral duties is derived from the end of substantive independence on that conception. It also argues for a new interpretation of Fichte's conception of formal independence, and explains why the usual understanding of this end as providing direct guidance for action must be mistaken. It encompasses a systematic reconstruction of Fichte's first-order claims in normative ethics and the philosophy of right.


1 Introduction
2 Rational Agency
3 Material independence
4 Formal independence
5 Independence as constitutive end
6 Conclusion

About the author: 

Michelle Kosch received a BA from Harvard College in 1990 and a PhD from Columbia University in 1999. She was employed as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Soren Kierkegaard Research Center in Copenhagen from 1999-2000, and thereafter as an assistant professor in the philosophy department at the University of Michigan, before moving to Cornell in 2006.

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