Yolanda Estes

Hegel and Fichte on the Relation between Morality and Right


This essay considers Hegel’s and Fichte’s accounts of the relation between morality and right.  For the most part, I restrict my texts to Fichte’s Foundations of Natural Right (1796) and Hegel’s Philosophy of Right (1821).[1]  This essay assumes the following structure.  In Section One, I review Hegel’s explanation of the relation between morality and right.  In Section Two, I explain the roles of individuality, inter-subjectivity, and the summons in Fichte’s philosophy of right.  In Section Three, I consider Fichte’s description of the relation between morality and right.  In Section Four, I examine the extra-moral character of Fichte’s “rule of right.”  In conclusion, I outline the differences between Hegel’s and Fichte’s accounts of the relation between morality and right.


1. Hegel on the Relation between Morality and Right

          In the Philosophy of Right, Hegel describes progressively concrete embodiments of freedom.  To state the matter differently, he explains how the rational subject discovers itself as free.  His account begins with formal freedom in individual morality and culminates with socio-political freedom in the state.  Individual morality consists in obeying the categorical imperative or the moral law, which commands the rational subject to determine itself and the world according to the concept of freedom.  The essence of moral freedom is the ideal, purely self-determining will that the individual ought to possess.  However, the moral law provides no content for action.  The moral subject finds not freedom but rather self-subjugation in moral action.  Human nature never becomes what it ought to be.  Moreover, the moral subject never succeeds in making nature what it ought to be.  The impotence of moral willing drives the rational subject to seek its freedom in the social world.  “[T]he ‘ought to be’ which is never absent from the moral sphere becomes an ‘is’ only in ethical life.”[2]

In the social world, the rational subject establishes families, works, and exchanges property.  These activities permit rational beings to obtain recognition in civil society.  Mores constitute the individual social member’s second nature whereby it exercises socio-economic freedom.  Although civil society provides for mutual satisfaction of needs and desires, each individual does not find freedom in the stratified class structure that results from the egoistic pursuit of self-fulfillment.  Moreover, to the extent that second nature determines individual activity, it is not free.  The inequity of civil society drives the individual to find freedom in the state.  Through trade unions, civil servants, and legal justice, the state mediates the inequities of civil society and thereby, permits each citizen to know itself as part of a greater whole.  In the state, the individual’s labor and activity is realized as socio-political freedom.

      During the ongoing self-development of freedom, no particular stage replaces or destroys another; rather, inadequate embodiments of freedom are sublated within more adequate expressions of freedom.  Each stage thereby assumes its proper role as an aspect of Spirit.

      Every stage in the development of the Idea of freedom has its own special right, since it is the embodiment of freedom in one of its proper specific forms.  When there is said to be a clash between the moral or the ethical and the right, the right in question is only the elementary, formal, right of abstract personality.  Morality, ethical life, the interest of the state, each of these is a right of special character because each of them is a specific form and embodiment of freedom.  They can come into collision with each other only in so far as they are all on the same footing as rights.[3]  

            Although morality is sublated within right as a more adequate expression of freedom, morality and right remain sovereign within the spheres appropriate to each. “The law of the land therefore cannot possibly wish to reach as far as a man’s disposition, because, so far as his moral convictions are concerned, he exists for himself alone, and force in that context is meaningless.”[4]  Moreover, morality provides no basis for legality, which provides a content for moral action.  Morality retains its “right” within the state, but “if two rights collide one is subordinated to the other.  It is only the right of the world-mind which is absolute without qualification.”[5]

            The self-development of freedom through individual morality, civil society, and the state encompasses progressively more effective modes of recognition.  The rational subject seeks itself in another consciousness that acknowledges its freedom.  Recognition occurs at a primitive level in all social interactions, but such forms of recognition are generally one-sided and thus, lead to the subordination of one individual.  One-sided recognition precludes true subjectivity and freedom.  In civil society, respect for property yields a form of recognition, which fails to establish equitable relations between individuals.  The state provides for equal recognition of individuals as legal persons.  In political life, legal equality constitutes a form of reciprocal recognition that approximates the complete and fully adequate mutual recognition within the sphere of Absolute Spirit. 

        Traditionally, Hegel receives credit for distinguishing right from morality and for illuminating the role of recognition in the philosophy of right.  However, in the Foundations of Natural Right, Fichte distinguishes right from morality and assigns a crucial role to recognition in the philosophy of right.  Despite these general similarities, Fichte’s account differs considerably from Hegel’s account.

  2. Fichte on Individuality, Inter-subjectivity, and the Summons

Fichte’s initial project in the Foundations of Natural Right is to deduce the concept of right.  This task requires answering the question: “How can the subject find itself as an object?”[6]  A finite being cannot posit itself without attributing a free efficacy to itself, which requires it to posit an object that opposes its efficacy, but it cannot posit an object if it is not really efficacious.[7]  Consequently, the argument in the Foundations appears circular: “The reason the possibility of self-consciousness cannot be explained without always presupposing it as already actual lies in the fact that, in order to be able to posit its own efficacy, the subject of self-consciousness, must have already posited an object, simply as an object.”[8]

This fact compels Fichte to introduce the hypothesis that the rational being’s efficacy must be precisely this “already posited” object.[9]  However, presupposing the synthetic unity of the subject and object seems to generate a contradiction.  The rational being feels the object as a determinate limitation on its activity, but the object and the subject are supposed to be united, so how can the subject find itself as constrained and free simultaneously?[10]   The rational being finds itself in this manner only if: “[W]e think of the subject’s being-determined as its being-determined to be self-determining, i.e. as a summons [eine Aufforderung] to the subject, calling upon it to resolve to exercise its efficacy.”[11]

       In order for the subject to find itself as determined in any manner, it must feel some external influence on itself, or in other words, it must encounter a sensible limitation.[12]  However, if this Anstoß [check] were to cancel the subject’s freedom, or if it were to compel the subject’s action, it would not serve as a determining impulse that initiates the rational being’s self-awareness.  For just this reason, the rational being must receive a concept of itself as a merely possible freedom—“something that ought to exist”—through an external summons to act.[13]  The summons initiates the rational being’s self-awareness without undermining its freedom because, in grasping the summons, the subject responds by choosing to act or not to act, yet it chooses freely in every case.[14] 

         The rational being must think of the summons as issuing from another rational, free being.[15]  Consequently, the subject’s self-concept is necessarily connected to the thought of reciprocal interaction between individuals—a relation of mutual determination—and thus, “a particular sphere is allotted to the subject as the sphere of its possible activity.”[16]  This concept of individuality is determined through the law of reflective opposition.[17]  This reciprocal concept “is never mine; rather it is … mine and his, his and mine.[18]  The foundation of the philosophy of right, or the rule of right, follows from this concept: “I must in all cases recognize the free being outside me as a free being, i.e. I must limit my freedom through the concept of the possibility of his freedom.”[19]


3. Fichte on the Relation between Morality and Right

In the “Deduction of the Subdivisions of the Wissenschaftslehre,” Fichte claims that “simply by means of analysis, one must be able to proceed from the Foundations [of the Wissenschaftslehre] to every particular science.”[20]  Theoretical and practical philosophy together explain the world as it is necessarily, potentially, and ideally.[21]  Practical philosophy considers the world, as reason ought to transfigure it.  The “ought” appears within experience through a summons to act that each individual must interpret before its own conscience, but moral theory concerns this summons insofar as it is directed categorically to rational beings in general. [22]

        Most evidently, empirical individuals sometimes heed this moral summons, but they very often disagree in their interpretations of it or disregard it entirely.[23]  This unfortunate fact generates the need for a separate “mixed” science—specifically, the philosophy of right—which mediates theoretical and practical philosophy.[24]  The theory of right is theoretical insofar as it addresses an ideal world, yet it is practical insofar as it considers the means whereby human activity might produce such a world.[25]  Consequently, Fichte says,

        The task of the theory of right can be described as follows: the free wills [of many different individuals] are to be reconciled with one another in accordance with a certain mechanical connection and interaction.  No such natural mechanism exists in itself, however, for this depends in part upon freedom.  This condition, {this legal constitution,} is brought about {by human beings} through the joint efficacy of nature and reason.[26]

        In the Foundations of Natural Right, Fichte describes how the “joint efficacy of reason and nature” could unite many free individuals and bring them under a legal constitution.  The purpose of the Foundations is to deduce the concept of right, to provide an account of a possible juridical world wherein the law of right prevails and thus, to reveal a means for securing individuals’ formal freedom.  “The concept [of right] acquires necessity” because an individual’s formal freedom presumes the existence of other rational beings, which the subject cannot posit without “positing itself as standing with those beings in a particular relation of right [Rechtsverhältniß].”[27] 

         An individual’s decision not to enter into community with others — not to limit its freedom through their freedom — contradicts its rational, free nature.  A fully developed individual knows that we are “bound and obligated to each other by our very existence.”[28]  Nonetheless, Fichte states, “in the doctrine of right there is no talk of moral obligation; each is bound only by the free, arbitrary [willkürlichen] decision to live in community with others[.]”[29]  Moreover, he claims that the concept of right “has nothing to do with the moral law.”[30]  Fichte offers several reasons for this distinction between morality and right.

       Fichte claims that it is impossible to deduce the concept of right from the moral law because the Foundations deduces right from the philosophical concept of the I; and “[t]his fact is enough to prove that it cannot be deduced from the moral law, for there cannot be more than one deduction of the same concept.”[31]  Moreover, he asserts that “[i]t is absolutely impossible to see how a permissive law should be derivable from the moral law, which commands unconditionally and thereby extends its reach to everything.”[32] 

       The concept of right implies a limited, conditioned law, which delineates what an individual is permitted to do with its formal freedom.[33]  A rule of right secures individuals’ rights in the sensible world, but one’s possession of rights hardly entails that one must or ought to act in any particular way.  “The moral law commands categorically: the law of right only permits, but never commands that one exercise one’s right.”[34]  One, in fact, ought to refrain from many actions that fall within one’s rights.  Indeed, duty requires actions that a relation of mutually limited formal freedom merely permits. 

         Although Fichte’s assertions do little more than illustrate a difference that he presumes as legitimate, he intimates a nascent argument against a philosophy of right based on moral law.  The moral law provides no basis for the philosophy of right because the moral law never generates rules that motivate sensible beings; but the rule of right appeals to the sensible being.[35]  Consequently: “The concept of right concerns only what is expressed in the sensible world: whatever has no causality in the sensible world—but remains inside the mind instead—belongs before another tribunal, the tribunal of morality.”[36]

         Intelligible willing has no causality in the sensible world and thus, “no role to play” within the province of right.[37]  However, moral subjects, as empirical beings, certainly act within the sensible world.  If their moral education were complete, a rule of right would be needless.[38]  Likewise, rational subjects, as empirical beings, certainly think within the sensible world.  If their rationality were fully cultivated, a coercive power would not be necessary to enforce their compliance with the law of right.[39]  The moral law commands the moral subject to strive for the complete development of all rational free beings, but the moral law has no causality in the sensible world.[40]  Consequently, a juridical world establishes relations of right that provide for a “joint efficacy of nature and reason,” which reconciles flawed individuals without annihilating the freedom that allows them to change.[41]:

        Within the domain of sensibility, the only sanction of right is a “physical force” that enforces the “law[s] of thought” regardless of human beings’ levels of moral development.[42]  In the realm of sensibility, the moral law provides no sanction for relations of right, because all empirical subjects have not been elevated to the level of moral consciousness.  As far as Fichte is concerned in the Foundations: “The question of whether the moral law might provide a new sanction for the concept of right is not part of the doctrine of natural right, but belongs instead to an account of real morality and will be answered within such an account at the appropriate time.”[43]  However, the “Deduction of the Subdivisions of the Wissenschaftslehre” offers a partial answer to this question: “If the goal of reason is to be achieved in a moral world, then a juridical world, thanks to which the struggle between efficaciously acting forces is restrained and limited, must already exist.  The juridical world must precede the moral world.”[44]

4. The Summons, the Categorical Imperative, and the Rule of Right

In the Wissenschaftslehre Nova Methodo and the Foundations of Natural Right, Fichte relieves the circularity of the account of self-consciousness by introducing a philosophical hypothesis—a synthetic unity of subject and object—that generates the notion of a summons.[45]  In both cases, the summons represents a call for the subject to freely determine itself.  However, the summons merely urges a possible action rather than compelling it directly; for otherwise it would annihilate the freedom of the summoned subject.  Moreover, this call to freedom is presented as something that actually appears in consciousness as an influence on the rational being.  Finally, the content of the summons relates the subject’s internal self-consistency to reciprocal interaction within a human community:

           I must think of myself as necessarily in community with other human beings with whom nature has united me, but I cannot do this without thinking of my freedom as limited through their freedom; now I must also act in accordance with this necessary thought, otherwise my acting stands in contradiction with my thinking; I am bound in conscience, by my knowledge of how things ought to be, to limit my freedom.[46]

      In the Wissenschaftslehre Nova Methodo, Fichte often relates the summons to the categorical imperative — usually with a warning that one must not view it as the moral law in the Foundations of the Wissenschaftslehre but rather as a mere hypothesis, which functions as the categorical imperative in the System of Ethical Theory.  Hence, Fichte reminds us, “The pure will is the categorical imperative.  Here, however, it will not be employed as such, but will be employed only for the purpose of explaining consciousness in general.”[47]  In the Foundations, Fichte stresses the extra-moral character of the summons — advising repeatedly that the rule of right is not the moral law.  The rule of right does not command the intelligible subject categorically but rather appeals to the sensible subject hypothetically.

            The rule of right is a hypothetical imperative, because it urges mutual limitation of freedom in order to preserve the individual’s formal freedom, or capacity to act toward its own freely chosen ends.[48]  These ends are freely chosen and thus, vary according to individual interest.  Nonetheless, the ultimate end for each individual is the preservation of its freedom and its very life, which it may use in the pursuit of pleasure, intellectual or moral self-development, or any other conceivable purpose.[49]  Fichte obviously believes that every person desires to live and to act efficaciously toward its own ends and thus, that the hypothetical imperative appeals universally.  The desire to preserve one’s formal freedom presumes a willingness to enter into community, but the decision to enter any particular community is arbitrary.

       Fichte’s hypothetical imperative provides a strong extra-moral incentive for establishing a juridical world and thereby securing a place in the sensible realm wherein sensible subjects may find themselves as intelligible subjects.  Indeed, it is difficult to imagine how to raise an empirical subject above mere sensibility without it.  The categorical imperative exerts no influence on the sensible subject, but the hypothetical imperative motivates the empirical will without annulling self-determining activity.  However, could the hypothetical imperative be the categorical imperative; or to state the matter differently, could the moral law provide an external sanction for the science of right?

       For the empirical subject, as a member of the sensible world, the summons expresses a hypothetical imperative, which the science of right takes as its starting point.  For the empirical subject, as a member of the intelligible world, the summons expresses a categorical imperative, which a system of ethical theory takes as its starting point.  For the transcendental philosopher, “the ‘ought,’ or categorical imperative, is also a theoretical principle.”[50]   Consequently:

        The world of the senses and belief in the reality of that world is produced in other way than through the conception of the moral world, even for the person who may never have thought about his own moral vocation (if there could be such a person), or, if he should have thought about it, has not the least intention of fulfilling it at any time in the indefinite future.  Even if he does not apprehend the world through the thought of his duties, he will yet surely do so through the demand of his rights.[51] 

        The rule of right has a philosophical sanction in the theoretical Wissenschaftslehre as well as a moral sanction in the categorical imperative.  This does not imply that right depends on morality, for if it did neither would be possible.  Right must carry an incentive that renders the good will superfluous in the sensible realm.  Morality, likewise, renders juridical duty superfluous in its domain.  The theory of ethics articulates the goal of reason in general; and the theory of right describes the means for accomplishing it. 

         The rule of right, “limit your freedom through the concept of the freedom of all other persons with whom you come in contact,” does indeed receive a new sanction for conscience through the law of absolute agreement with oneself (the moral law); and then the philosophical treatment of conscience constitutes a chapter of morality; but this is not part of the philosophical doctrine of right, which ought to be a separate science standing on its own.[52]


            Fichte’s and Hegel’s philosophies of right share several features.  Both philosophers stress the importance of recognition in moral, social, and political life.  Both philosophers demand a separation of morality and right.  Neither philosopher advocates the derivation of legality from morality, but neither treats political freedom as a substitute for individual conscience and moral freedom.  To be sure, there are other similarities between Fichte’s Foundations of Natural Right and Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, but these fall outside the scope of my discussion.  Nonetheless, the differences between Fichte and Hegel are as profound as the similarities. 

Although Hegel preserves a role for morality within the state, political life represents the culmination of freedom in the Philosophy of Right.  Socio-political freedom is the telos of individual morality.  In contrast, Fichte sees the juridical world as a necessary first step in human education.  This step leads to the moral world wherein the individual rational being discovers its essence as a moral will.  Consequently, the separation of morality and right by Fichte and Hegel serve very different ends.

Recognition plays an essential role in the Foundations of Natural Right and in the Philosophy of Right.  Nonetheless, Fichte treats the summons as initiating an original reciprocal relation prior to moral, social, or political development.  Indeed, for Fichte, the process of summoning is ethico-social development.  According to Hegel, mutual recognition occurs in the state alone.  Fichte and Hegel see recognition as appearing in various forms at different levels of human development, but their views about the proper direction of human development are quite different.  Moreover, for Fichte, the summons initiates immediate awareness of freedom, or intellectual intuition, which, served as the foundation, or first principle, of his philosophy.  For obvious reasons, recognition serves no such purpose in Hegel’s philosophy.

More attention should be given to the similarities between Fichte’s and Hegel’s philosophies of right.  However, it would probably not be helpful to seek the ways in which Fichte “anticipates” Hegel.  It would perhaps be more advantageous to view Fichte and Hegel as responding similarly to certain philosophical and ethical needs of their time. 

[1] Foundations of Natural Right, trans. Michael Bauer and edit. Frederick Neuhouser (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000) [Henceforth FNR] and Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, trans. T. M. Knox (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978) [Henceforth, PR].
[2] PR, p. 248-9.
[3] PR, p. 34.
[4] PR, 245-6.
[5] ibid.
[6] FNR, p. 32.
[7] FNR, p. 30.
[8] FNR, pp. 30—1.
[9] FNR, p. 31.
[10] ibid.
[11] ibid.
[12] FNR, pp. 32—3.
[13] FNR, p. 32.  “The subject cannot find itself necessitated to do anything, not even to act in general; for then it would not be free, nor an I.  Even less can it, if it is to resolve to act, find itself to act in this or that particular way; for then, once again, it would not be free nor an I.  How and in what sense, then, must the subject be determined to exercise its efficacy, if it is to find itself as an object?  Only insofar as it finds itself as something that could exercise its efficacy, as something that is summoned to exercise its efficacy but that can just as well refrain from doing so.”  (FNR, pp. 32—3.)  Compare Foundations of Transcendental Philosophy (Wissenschaftslehre) nova methodo, trans. and edit. Daniel Breazeale ((Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1992) [Henceforth WLNM], p. 355.  See also FNR, note 3, p. 32.  For a more detailed discussion of Fichte’s “Doctrine of the Anstoß,” see Daniel Breazeale, “Check or Checkmate?  On the Finitude of the Fichtean Self,” in The Modern Subject: Conceptions of Self in Classical German Philosophy, ed. Karl Ameriks and Dieter Sturma (Albany: SUNY Press, 1996), pp. 87—114.
[14] “The rational being is to realize its free efficacy; this demand [Aufforderung] upon it belongs to the very concept of a rational being, and just as certainly as the rational being grasps this concept, so to does it realize its free efficacy, and in one of two ways: either by actually acting  [ . . . ]  or by not acting.” (FNR, p. 33.)
[15] FNR, p. 39—40.  Note: “Therefore, the cause of the summons must itself necessarily possess the concept of reason and freedom; thus it must itself be a being capable of having concepts; it must be an intelligence, and—since this is not possible without freedom, as has just been shown—it must also be a free, and thus a rational, being, and must be posited as such.”  (FNR, p. 35).  See also FNR, pp. 35—7 for Fichte’s detailed account of why the rational being must attribute the summons to another rational being.
[16] FNR, pp. 37—8.  “The summons to engage in free self-activity is what we call up-bringing [Erziehung].  All individuals must be brought up to be human beings, otherwise they would not be human beings.” (FNR, p. 38).  I think this passage implies that the summons is best construed as a communal process rather than a particular message from one individual to another.  In other words, while education involves reciprocal activity between individuals, no particular encounter constitutes an education.
[17] FNR, p. 40.  See note 10 above.  See also FNR, pp. 43—4.  The individual is defined by having a particular sphere of potential activity wherein it alone may choose to act, but its having this sphere depends in turn on another rational being, which it treats as such, refraining from acting in that sphere.
[18] FNR, p. 45.
[19] FNR, p. 49
[20] WLNM, p. 46—8.
[21] WLNM, p. pp. 468—9.  Note also: “Remark: Both theoretical and practical philosophy are [included within] the Wissenschaftslehre.  Both are based upon the transcendental point of view: Theoretical philosophy is based upon the transcendental point of view precisely because it deals with the act of cognizing, and thus with something within us, and it is not concerned with any sort of {mere} being.  Practical philosophy is based upon the transcendental point of view because it does not deal with the I as an individual at all, but instead deals with reason as such, in its individuality.  {The theory of ethics maintains that individuality is contained within and follows from reason.  That I am precisely this specific individual, however, is not something that follows from reason.}  The former theory is {in a certain respect} concrete; the latter is the highest abstraction {present within thinking and involves an ascent} from the level of what is sensible to the pure concept as a motive [for action].”  (WLNM, p. 470.)
[22] “Everyone bears his own conscience within himself, and each person’s conscience is entirely his own.  {Everyone has his own ethical law, his own duties.} Yet the manner in which the law of reason commands everyone can certainly be established in abstracto.  Such an inquiry is conducted from a higher standpoint, {where the individual beings coincide,} where individuality vanishes from view and one attends only to what is universal or general.  I must act; my conscience is my conscience, and to this extent the theory of ethics is an individual matter.  This, however, is not the way it is dealt with in the general theory of ethics. {If one attends only to what is universal, there arises} the practical Wissenschaftslehre, which becomes the particular [science of] ethics, {of ‘ethics’ in the proper sense of the term}.”  (WLNM, p. 469.)
[23] WLNM, p. 470.
[24] ibid.
[25] WLNM, p. 470—1.
[26] WLNM, p. 471.  Note also: Closely related to the theory of right and sharing the same domain is the philosophy of religion.  Together, these two constitute a third {part of} philosophy: ‘the philosophy of the postulates.’  {There is a postulate that theory addresses to the practical realm: that many free individuals ought to maintain a certain order and enter into peaceful relations with one another.  This is a postulate that theory addresses to freedom as well as to reason, and this is how we obtain the theory of right.”  (WLNM, p. 471.)
[27] FNR, pp. 9 and 39.
[28] FNR, p. 45.
[29] FNR, pp. 11—12. 
[30] FNR, p. 50.
[31] FNR, p. 50.
[32] FNR, p. 14 (my emphasis).
[33] “The union of prohibition and desire produces {not an “ought,” but merely} a [feeling of] being permitted to satisfy the desire {in a certain respect, without any immediate expression of the categorical drive within the power of feeling}.  Whatever is included within the sphere of what I am allowed to do is permitted.”  (WLNM, p. 292.)
[34] FNR, p. 50.
[35] FNR, p. 51.  “{The ‘ought’ first arises from the unification of pure willing, insofar as this exercises an influence upon our power of feeling, and thus upon some desire, which is thereby restricted to a narrow sphere, from which everything that is prohibited is excluded.  Consequently, an ‘ought’ arises when what is permitted accords with pure willing.  Consider, for example, [the difference between] natural law and morality:}”  (WLNM, p.  292.)
[36] FNR, p. 51.  Compare: “The theory of natural law or natural right is concerned with what we are permitted to do, rather than with what we ought to do.  It refers only empirical willing.  Morality tells us that we ought to do something, which, from the standpoint of natural right we are merely permitted to do.  {The latter deals with empirical human beings and permits justice toward others; morality, on the other hand, makes justice a duty for the intelligible person.}”  (WLNM, p. 295.)
[37] FNR, p. 51.
[38] FNR, p. 132.
[39] FNR, p. 127.
[40] FNR, p. 81.
[41] WLNM, p. 471.
[42] “The source of this obligation is certainly not the moral law: rather, it is the “law of thought[.]”  (FNR, p. 47): “[T]he concept of the individual was previously proved to be a condition of self-consciousness; thus the concept of right is itself a condition of self-consciousness.  therefore, the concept of right has been properly deduced a priori, i.e. from the pure form of reason, from the I.”  (FNR, p. 49)  “In this domain, physical force—and it alone—gives right its sanction.”  “Right must be enforceable, even if there is not a single human being with a good will; the very aim of the science of right is to sketch out just such an order of things.” (FNR, p. 51.)
[43] FNR, p. 50—1.  Compare: “The rule of right, [. . . ] does indeed receive a new sanction for conscience through the law of absolute agreement with oneself (the moral law); and then the philosophical treatment of conscience constitutes a chapter of morality; but this is not part of the philosophical doctrine of right, which ought to be a separate science standing on its own.” (FNR, 10-1.)
[44] WLNM, p. 470.
[45] For a more detailed discussion of this argument, see Yolanda Estes’s “Intellectual Intuition, the Pure Will, and the Categorical Imperative in the Later Jena Wissenschaftslehre,” in New Essays on Fichte’s Later Jena Wissenschaftslehre, edit. Daniel Breazeale and Tom Rockmore (Chicago, IL: Northwestern University Press, Forthcoming, 2002).
[46] FNR, p. 11.  See Some Lectures Concerning the Scholar’s Vocation in Fichte: Early Philosophical Writings, trans. Daniel Breazeale (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988), p. 149.
[47] WLNM, p. 293.
[48] “Juridical duties are thus hypothetical imperatives, whereas ethical duties are exactly as in Kant, categorical imperatives.”  Alain Perrinjaquet, “Duties Concerning Natural Beings in Fichte’s Practical Philosophy” pp. 153—178 in New Perspectives on Fichte, edit. Daniel Breazeale and Tom Rockmore (Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1996), p. 154.  See also, GA, I, 3: 387—388 [SW III, 89—90].
[49] FNR, p. 107.
[50] WLNM, p. 437.
[51] The Vocation of Man, trans. Peter Preuss (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1987), p. 78.  The passage continues: “What perhaps he never expects of himself he will, however, surely expect of others in relation to himself: that they treat him with consideration, thoughtfully, and purposefully, not as a nonrational thing but as a free and independent being.  And so, if they are even to be able to meet this requirement, he will be obliged to think of them too as considerate, free, self-sufficient, and independent of the mere power of nature.”
[52] FNR, p. 11.