The Theory of the Imagination In Schelling's Philosophy of Identity

Idealistic Studies 34 (1):85-98 (2004)
Abstract
This essay explores how Schelling’s Philosophy of Art promotes a theory of the imagination (Einbildungskraft) correlative to that reason informing his Philosophy of Identity. Against the background of Kant’s and Fichte’s transcendental-philosophical notion of the imagination, it shows how Schelling conceives the absolute identity of the ideal and the real in terms of its expression in and asthe imagination. As a name for the self-constitution of absolute identity, the term “Einbildungskraft” denotes for Schelling not merely the formative activity of picturing, but instead the generative dynamic of imprinting, and this as the singular operation of unification in the sense of genuinely making the disparate—the finite and the infinite—into one. How this theory involves a view of artistic symbols as instantiating pure unity is discussed with reference to Schelling’s theory of tragedy as well as Hegel’s criticism of this conception
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