chapter  II
27 Pages

THE TRANSITION IN GERMANY

Fichte's interests were primarily ethical. The fervour of his genius made his work a lasting inspiration, and the central feature of that work was the concept of activity. B y starting from a fundamental activity, Fichte avoids all the problems of sensationalism and of rationalism. That immanence which Kant ascribed to the moral life of the individual was by Fichte extended to the whole field of conscious existence ; questions concerning the action of the object on the subject or of the subject on the object were all anticipated and answered by the preliminary assertion that the distinction of subject and object arises out of the primary act of the spirit. How this assertion could have assisted anyone anxious to learn the detail of psychology we do not know. Its author made no attempt to follow that laborious path, but preferred to write a history of consciousness in a very different sense. The inner movement which began

THE TRANSITION IN GERMANY

from that first act is traced through a series of developments which is mainly an evolution of concepts from a narrower to a wider universality.