Seeking Originality: Fichte’s Contribution to Higher Education in Germany and the Foundation of the University of Berlin, 1810
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Under the crisis of the failing university system and subsequent Napoleonic war, a number of German thinkers formulated a new idea of the university that spawned the modern concept of the research university. Among these thinkers, one man distinguished himself as a pedagogical giant in his own right due to the complexity and thoroughness of his plan. Yet, in history, his contributions are widely overlooked, in large part because his ideas were not implemented by his contemporary, Wilhelm von Humboldt. That man’s name was J.G. Fichte—a thinker perhaps best known for his extremist tendencies and his overwhelming desire to unite all existence under his philosophical system, the Wissenschaftlehre. This thesis is devoted to uncovering Fichte’s originality as an educational thinker, utilizing a methodology inspired by Quentin Skinner, so as to locate Fichte’s intentions within the intellectual matrix in which he found himself in 1807-1808.