Nineteenth Century Philosophy

Johann Gottlieb Fichte

How did Johann Gottlieb Fichte become famous?

Soon after Fichte met Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) in Königsberg, his first book, Attempt at a Critique of All Revelation (1792), appeared. It drew connections between religious revelation and Kant’s philosophy. Fichte had not shown it to Kant before publication, and Fichte’s name did not appear as the work’s author, so the book was assumed to be by Kant. Kant generously cleared up this misunderstanding, giving high praise to Fichte, who immediately became famous. The accolades were hyperbolic. One reader wrote: “The most shocking and astonishing news … nobody but Kant could have written this book. This amazing news of a third sun (the other two being Kant and René Descartes [1596–1650]) in the philosophical heavens has set me into such confusion.”


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