8. This was William Warburton’s argument in 1747 about the “essence of the author’s property” being “immaterial,” composed of the “doctrine” underlying a book rather than the book itself (Rose 1993:73). William Blackstone (1760) similarly argued that the essence of a literary text was its spirit—that is, its “style and sentiment,” which remain unchanged across different material instantiations (text artifacts) of the text. Fichte considered the important essence neither “doctrine” nor “sentiment” but something more like Blackstone’s “style,” shifting the focus slightly from the realm of thought and inspiration to an identifiable expression or form (see Woodmansee 1994).


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