Fichte. I. Johann Gottlieb, a German philosopher, born at Rammenau in Lusatia, May 19, 1762, died in Berlin, Jan. 27, 1814. He was the son of a poor weaver, and owed his education to a wealthy nobleman, the baron of Miltitz. He studied theology at Jena, Leip-sic, and Wittenberg, 1780-'83, and for ten years obtained a precarious living as a private tutor. While at Konigsberg in 1791 he became acquainted with Kant, of whom he had been one of the earliest and most enthusiastic admirers, and as an application of his philosophy wrote a pamphlet entiled Kritik aller Ojfenbarungen ("Review of all Revelations'1), which, published anonymously, was generally believed to have been written by Kant himself. In 1793, while residing in Switzerland, he published a work in two volumes to rectify public opinion in regard to the French revolution." In 1794 he obtained a professorship of philosophy at the university of Jena through the influence of Goethe, then secretary of state of Saxe-Weimar. Here he commenced a series of lectures on the science of knowledge ( Wissenschaftsle/ire), and gave also a course of Sunday lectures on the literary calling.

In the same year he published a treatise containing the fundamental doctrines of his philosophical system, Ueber den Begriff der Wissenschaftslehre, and during the next five years his system was matured and completed. By it he immediately took rank among the most original of living philosophers, and as it appeared to furnish a metaphysical basis for progressive political and religious views, he was considered one of the leaders of the liberal party in Germany. In conjunction with Niethammer he also published a philosophical journal, in which were inserted articles containing certain views which were considered by many as tending directly to atheism. The grand-ducal government, alarmed at the boldness of his theories, insisted on his removal, and Goethe, though secretly sympathizing with him, felt bound to express his official disapprobation. Fichte resigned his professorship and appealed to the public in a pamphlet entitled Appellation gegen die An- Mage des Atheismus, which, though proving his deep earnestness, could scarcely be considered a conclusive refutation of the objections raised against his doctrines.

He maintained in it that science could conceive the idea of existence only in regard to such beings or things as belonged to the province of sensual perception, and that therefore it could not be applied to God. God was not an individual being, but merely a manifestation of supreme laws, the logical order of events, the ordo ordinans of the universe. He said it was no less ridiculous to ask a philosopher if his doctrines were atheistic than to ask a mathematician whether a triangle was green or red. From Jena Fichte went to Berlin, where by his writings and lectures he exerted a great influence on public opinion, and after the reverses which befell the Prussian monarchy (1806) became one of the most conspicuous and powerful anti-Napoleonic agitators. For a few months only (1805) he accepted a professorship at the university of Er-langen, where he delivered his celebrated lectures Ueber das Wesen des Gelehrten. While the French conquerors were still in Berlin he delivered in the academy his Reden an die deutsche Nation, which are admired as a monument of the most intense patriotism and depth of thought. Immediately after the establishment of the Berlin university in 1810, he accepted a professorship there. In 1813 he resumed his political activity with great success.

When at last the deliverance of Germany from French oppression had given him sufficient tranquillity of mind to resume the completion of his philosophical system, he fell a victim to the noble exertions of his wife in the cause of charity. By nursing the sick and wounded in the military hospitals for five months she had become infected with typhus. She recovered, but her husband, who had also taken the disease, succumbed to it. Besides the above mentioned publications, the following are Fichte's principal works: Grundldge der gesammten Wissenschaftslehre (1794); Grund-lage des NaturrechU (1796-'7); System der Sittenlehre (1798); Ueber die Bestimmung des Menschen (1801); Amceisung zum seligen Le-ben (1806). His complete works were published at Berlin in 1845.-To give a succinct and intelligible analysis of Fichte's philosophical system is next to impossible. His language is abstruse and liable to misconstruction, to which indeed Fichte's philosophy has been subject in a higher degree perhaps than that of any other modern philosopher.

Thus, for instance, to designate the self-conscious intellect as contrasted with the non-conscious objects of its conception, he uses the personal pronounI" as contrasted to the "not I" (Ich and Nicht-Ich, in English versions generally rendered by the Latin ego and non-ego); and this was misconstrued by many of his contemporaries as a deification of his own individual self, while in point of fact he meant only that which by other moderns has been called the absolute, and by the ancient philosophers the substance. Fichte's philosophy was intended to amplify that of Kant. Kant, in investigating the theory of human cognition, had arrived at the conclusion that the properties of external objects, by which they are discerned and known, are not realities, transferred from without into the human mind, but mere forms of conception innate in the mind. Hence he argued that objects per se or such as they really are, independent of human cognition, are utterly unknown to man. So far as man is concerned, they are only phenomena; that is to say, for man they exist only as they appear to the mind according to its forms of conception (categories), while as noumena, or such as they are per se, they are unknown and inconceivable.

What Fichte attempts to prove is simply this: that between objects as they appear to human conception and as they actually are there is no real difference, since the forms of human cognition are identical with the action of the absolute intellect; that objects are the limit set by the absolute within itself in order to arrive at perfect self-consciousness; that the absolute (the Ich) is at the same time subject and object, the ideal and the real. Reduced to plainer language, all this would mean that God (the absolute subject, the great active and creative "I") and nature (the not I," the aggregate of objects) are united in a similar manner as soul and body; that the absolute intellect pervades all and everything, and that the human mind is an integral part of the absolute intellect. But, clothed in the most singular and obscure formulas, the theory of Fichte was understood by many to mean that all reality existed only in the imagination of man, and was in fact merely an outward reflection or manifestation of the workings of the human mind.

Such was not his idea, and the term "idealist," when applied to Fichte, has a different meaning from that in which it is applied to Berkeley. That the ultimate consequences of Fichte's system would have led him into a sort of pantheistical mysticism is apparent from his later writings, in which the "I" is much more clearly than in his earlier works set forth as God, and all individual minds only as reflections of the absolute. Applying his metaphysical theories to ethics, Fichte concludes that morality consists in the har-mony of man's thoughts (conscience) and actions. Entire freedom of action and self-determination is, according to Fichte, not merely the preliminary condition of morality, but morality itself. Hence law should be nothing more than a determination of the boundaries within which the free action of the individual must be confined, so as to concede the same freedom to others. Law has no meaning or existence without society. The object of society is the realization of the supreme law as conceived by human reason. The most perfect state of human society would be the true king-dom of heaven, since the absolute or God is revealed in the rational development of mankind. It is easily seen how these ethical doctrines of Fichte appeared in practice.

Maintaining that self-reliance and self-determination were the only guarantees of true morality, and contending against the assumption of the divine right of political institutions, he furnished a philosophical basis to the liberal political parties who opposed the sanctity of popular rights to the assumed divine right of mon-archs. In order to insure to the people the greatest possible amount of rational well being, Fichte taught that the introduction of the most universal popular education was one of the principal duties of the state. In regard to this subject his urgent appeals to the German governments were highly successful. The identity of the subject and object, or of the ideal and real, as taught by Fichte, became the basis as well of Schelling's nature-philosophy as of Hegel's philosophical system, the former of which attempts a logical construction of the universe from the standpoint of the object (nature), while the other attempts the same from the point of view of the subject (the human mind).- The Grundzage des gegenwartigen Zeitalters (" Characteristics of the Present Age"), Wesen des Gelehrten ("Nature of the Scholar), Bestimmung des Menschen (" Vocation of Man"), Bestimmung des Gelehrten ("Vocation of the Scholar"), and some others of Fichte's works, have been translated into English by William Smith (with a memoir, London, 1845-'8). Other translations from Fichte, by A. E. Kroeger, are,New Exposition of the Science of Knowledge (St. Louis, 1869), and The Science of Knowledge (Philadelphia, 1870).

II. Immanuel Hermann, son of the preceding, born at Jena in 1707. From 1822 to 1842 he filled professorships at Saar-bruck, Dusseldorf, and Bonn, and since 1842 has been professor of philosophy at the university of Tubingen. He has published many philosophical works, mostly following the theories of his father, though he claims to have established a system of his own, which, in contradistinction to the Hegelian pantheism, he calls concrete theism. Among his works are: Satze zur Vorschule der Theologie (1826); Die Ontologie (1836); Die speculative Theologie (1846-'7); System der Ethik (1850-'o3); Anthropologic (1856); and Psychologie als Lelire torn between Geiste des Menschen (1864 et seq.). He has also published the literary correspondence of his father, with a biography (1830). He founded at Bonn the Zeitschrift far Philosophic vnd speculative Theologie, which he conducted from 1837 to 1848, and which has been continued by Ulrici and Wirth.