Research Repository

In Defense of Bad Infinity: A Fichtean Response to Hegel's Differenzschrift

Martin, Wayne M (2007) 'In Defense of Bad Infinity: A Fichtean Response to Hegel's Differenzschrift.' Hegel Bulletin, 28 (1-2). 168 - 187. ISSN 2051-5367


Download (346kB) | Preview


<jats:p>Hegel's very first acknowledged publication was, among other things, an attack on Fichte. In 1801, Hegel was still laboring in almost complete obscurity, while Fichte was an international sensation, though already somewhat past the peak of his meteoric career. In the 1801 <jats:italic>Differenzschrift</jats:italic>, Hegel cut his teeth by criticizing Fichte's already widelycriticised <jats:italic>Wissenschaftslehre</jats:italic>, and by demonstrating that Schelling's philosophical system was not simply to be equated with it. Fichte himself never bothered to respond to Hegel's criticisms; indeed he never publicly acknowledged their existence. This was not because he was unconcerned with criticisms of his views; quite the contrary. But at the time he had bigger fish to fry. He responded to Jacobi's criticisms, and to Schelling's; he replied in great detail to critical questions raised by Reinhold, and with vituperative intensity to objections raised by skeptics and purportedly loyal Kantians. But Hegel's <jats:italic>Differenzschrift</jats:italic> was left without a Fichtean rebuttal. This is a pity, both because of the missed opportunity to illuminate by controversy central issues at stake in the post-Kantian period, but also because it made it easier for Hegel simply to reiterate his youthful criticism as if it were the last word. And reiterate it he did: in one form or another Hegel's early criticisms of Fichte reappear at every subsequent stage of his career: in the <jats:italic>Phenomenology</jats:italic>, in the <jats:italic>Science of Logic</jats:italic>, in the <jats:italic>Encyclopaedia</jats:italic>, as the final chapter in Hegel's <jats:italic>History of Philosophy</jats:italic>, and in countless other minor works and documents from the <jats:italic>Nachlass</jats:italic> and correspondence.</jats:p>

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Philosophy and Art History, School of
Depositing User: Users 161 not found.
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2015 12:58
Last Modified: 04 May 2019 02:15

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item