Fichte and the German Idiom: the Metaphysics of the Addresses to the German Nation

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This article argues against the dominant Anglophone and Francophone interpretation of Fichte, which reads him as advancing either a form of ethnic or cultural nationalism. It claims that what is missing from the current reception of Fichte is the essentially philosophical and cosmopolitan character of his nationalism – the fact that the Addresses to the German Nation uses non‐empirical and cosmopolitical concepts to develop and articulate its nationalistic viewpoint. It therefore claims that the notion of a national philosophical idiom that the Addresses present, far from being a screen for its nationalism, is its driving engine. It does this by considering the problems of translating the German locution ist unsers Geschlechts. Consequently, it is claimed that the cosmo‐nationalism of Fichte is not reducible to a set of claims regarding ethnicity or even the empirical world, even if a discourse on the organismic, on what counts as life, irreducibly haunts the Addresses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-336
Number of pages20
JournalNations and Nationalism
Issue number2
Early online date1 Mar 2013
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


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