Tamás Hankovszky: Philosophy of education in early Fichte

In Educational Philosophy and Theory 50 (2018) 6–7. 631–639.

According to Fichte’s early science of knowledge, man is a free and independent being who becomes somebody not through the power of nature, by developing his innate skills and abilities, or through external influence, but by his own power. Since the essence of human beings is I-hood, the individual, having defeated the not-I or nature living in him, has to strive towards the absolute I, which is nothing else but the being created by himself. This process is Bildung, the details of which are elaborated in Fichte’s philosophy of education, whereby he opposes his point of view to Rousseau. Although Fichte emphasizes the activity of the student, he sees the assistance of an educator as indispensable. The role of the educator can be apprehended from the foundations of the science of knowledge. Thus, in order to be able to posit ourselves as free beings we require another being who summons us. ‘The summons to engage in free self-activity is what we call upbringing.’