Fichte’s The Vocation of Man

This paper discusses The Vocation of Man by Johann Gottlieb Fichte, the 18th century German philosopher.

This paper relates that, in the beginning of The Vocation of Man, Fichte encourages the reader to debate within him/herself the context of the book and to draw conclusions and resolutions by his/her own labor and reflection. The author points out that, basically, Fichte is suggesting that total free will cannot exist because man is bound by the limitations and laws of nature. The paper concludes that, if man had total free will, he would live longer years or live a different life; however, he is bound by definite laws of nature, exists only because of them, and can choose only through them.
A plant, left to itself, moves from germination to the ripening of the seed and man, when left to himself, moves from birth to death, hence the duration of the life of plants and of men, are the varied modes of this life (Fichte pg). Man is conscious of himself as an independent and moves through many phases of his life as a free being, however, Fichte suggests that consciousness can be explained by the principles he laid down (Fichte pg). Fichte says, my consciousness cannot go beyond myself and the modes of my own being, that he knows only himself and anything else he knows is through perception (Fichte pg). Man is not the man-forming power of Nature but merely one of its manifestations and it is because of this manifestation that man is conscious and is really the product of an original and independent power, and must appear as such in consciousness and because of this man recognizes himself as an independent being (Fichte pg).”