Fichte’s Kabbalistic Realism: Self-Consciousness, Other Minds, and the Restraint of Force

think_create_engage_red1Philosophy
Paul Franks, Professor of Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Judaic Studies, Yale University 
Thursday, April 14, 4 p.m.
Performing Arts and Humanities Building Room 441 

Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814) made an extremely innovative and important argument that no mind could come into being unless there were at least one other mind to summon it into being, and that the process whereby one mind solicits another also contains the foundation for human rights. However, the details of his argument are much disputed. Franks will contend that an essential ingredient of his argument is the concept of tsimtsum or contraction, drawn from kabbalah or Jewish mystical tradition. Franks will also explain how such a concept came to be deployed by Fichte, despite his open hostility to all things Jewish and his infamous role in the development of anti-Semitism.

This event is co-sponsored by Judaic Studies. 

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