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Ideas of Friedrich Jacobi, by Text

[German, 1743 - 1819, Freelance polemicist and socialite.]

1799 Letters to Fichte
p.26 Jacobi was the first philosopher to talk of nihilism
     Full Idea: Jacobi was the first to philosophically employ the concept of nihilism.
     From: report of Friedrich Jacobi (Letters to Fichte [1799]) by Simon Critchley - Continental Philosophy - V. Short Intro Ch.2
     A reaction: Critchley explains that it was Jacobi's fear that Fichte was drawing nihilist conclusions from Kant's philosophy. This fear may be seen as the beginning of what is loosely called 'continental philosophy'. A worthy subject for thinkers...
Ch.2 p.27 Life and rationality are pointless if we can only contemplate the freedom of our own ego
     Full Idea: If the highest upon which I can reflect, what I can contemplate, is my empty and pure, naked and mere ego, with its autonomy and freedom: then rational self-contemplation, then rationality is for me a curse - I deplore my existence.
     From: Friedrich Jacobi (Letters to Fichte [1799], Ch.2), quoted by Simon Critchley - Continental Philosophy - V. Short Intro
     A reaction: This is a rebellion against Fichte's interpretation of Kant. It is a lovely cry from the heart on behalf of everyone who resents lines of philosophical thinking that seem to imprison the mind and cut us off from the ordinary world and real life.