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Johann Gottlieb Fichte, the German philosopher, was born at Rammenau, Saxony in 1762. He studied theology and then philosophy at Jena where he became an ardent disciple of Kant.

On becoming professor of philosophy at Jena in 1794 he modified the Kantian system by substituting for the "thing-in-itself" as the absolute reality, the more subjective Ego, the primitive act of consciousness. In 1805 he became professor at Erlangen where he published the more popular versions of his philosophy.

His historical importance is as the author of Reden an die deutsche Nation (1807-8, Addreses to the German Nation), in which he invoked a metaphysical German nationalism to resistance against Napoleon. In 1810 the University of Berlin was opened and Fichte, who had drawn up its constitution, became its first rector. He died in Berlin in 1814.

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