Philosophy Professor Vladimir Zeman reports that the fifth biennial meeting of the North American Fichte Society, held at the Ch‰teau Versailles May 12 to 16, was an enjoyable and productive event for all concerned.
Thirty-four scholars attended, and despite the Society's North American orientation, they included participants from Oxford, Paris, Germany and Amsterdam.
Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814) was a classical German philosopher. Zeman, a Kant specialist, said that while Fichte was long seen as Kant's influential precursor, interest in his philosophy on its own account has increased. In fact, a key work in the Kantian spirit by the young and unknown Fichte, indicates that even that early in his career, he was an independent thinker of stature.
Fichte's best-known work, Addresses to the German Nation, have been viewed by some as unduly nationalistic, but Zeman said that the context must be considered; these were speeches made at a time when the German people were under the thumb of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Zeman was a coordinator of the conference, along with a
colleague from the Universitˇ de Montrˇal.