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Language and the recognition of rationality in Fichte’s Jena Wissenschaftslehre

Sommer, David; (2019) Language and the recognition of rationality in Fichte’s Jena Wissenschaftslehre. Masters thesis (M.Phil.Stud), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis examines a variety of texts from Fichte’s Jena Wissenschaftslehre in order to argue that his 1795 essay On the linguistic capacity and the origin of language and associated texts from 1794 to 1796 contain an alternative account of the intersubjective recognition Fichte calls Anerkennung, and the reciprocal interaction in which it is realized called the summons (Aufforderung). Fichte introduces these concepts in the Foundations of Natural Right (1796) in the context of arguing that the self-consciousness of rational individuals depends on a rational influence by other human beings. His deduction of the concept of the summons and the criterion of the recognition of rationality are contrasted with a reconstruction of the alternative linguistic account, against the systematic background of the Jena Wissenschaftslehre. This is attempted in four main chapters. The first chapter provides an overview of the Wissenschaftslehre, with respect to its aims, method, and basic principles, its depiction of finite human activity as well as its relation to the kind of inquiry Fichte pursues in his essay on language. The second chapter summarizes the deduction of the summons in the Natural Right and examines the concepts of ‘subtle matter’ and the human body as a sign of freedom. The third chapter argues that the Wissenschaftslehre contains two conflicting accounts of the self-constitution associated with the summons. In the fourth chapter, Fichte’s deduction of language is systematically reconstructed in order to show that it contains an account of the cultivation of reason by means of the development of our communicative capacities. It is concluded that this developmental conception of the summons provides an alternative, and superior, criterion for rationality than the account given in FNR, and that this conception essentially concerns language.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Qualification: M.Phil.Stud
Title: Language and the recognition of rationality in Fichte’s Jena Wissenschaftslehre
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10072526
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