About this topic

Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling (1775-1854), together with J.G. Fichte and G.W.F. Hegel, is considered to be one of the three key figures of German Idealism. His philosophical oeuvre is most commonly divided into his (1) early period (1794-1800), (2) his Philosophy of Identity (1801-1809), (3) his middle period (1809-1827), and, finally, (4) the Positive and Negative Philosophy, and his critique of Hegel in his late period (1827-1854). His early period is broadly motivated by the systematic question of Kant’s third Critique, that is, of the unity between the realm of necessity and the realm of freedom which Schelling approaches from the perspective of both the subject (Transcendental Philosophy) and object (Philosophy of Nature). Schelling pursues the same question in his Philosophy of Identity but his method in this period resembles a neo-Platonic self-division of an independent ground of freedom and nature, the absolute identity of freedom and necessity. In his middle period, Schelling adds to his earlier view of absolute freedom (freedom that is identical with necessity) the view of freedom as a capacity for both good and evil. In his late period, he criticizes Hegel’s system according to which thought exhausts the whole reality (Negative Philosophy) and argues for the primacy of being over thought (Positive Philosophy).

Although neglected for many years in the Anglophone world, Schelling’s thought remains very much present with us today. Schelling’s view that there are aspects of the self that continuously escape self-consciousness indicates the ongoing relevance of Schelling’s philosophy for psychoanalysis. By assigning a unique place to art, a place that was traditionally assigned to logic in the history of philosophy, namely, art as the “organon” or instrument of philosophy, Schelling admits the limitations of philosophy, which for him is no longer a self-sufficient practice. Schelling’s understanding of identity between mind and nature resonates in the mind-body debates of contemporary analytic philosophy, especially the works of Geach and Davidson. His grounding of our agency in a reality that exceeds the grasp of reason anticipates the later “existentialist” tradition. And finally Schelling’s view that being precedes all reflection entails the idea of historical and empirical contingency which paved the way to Marxist materialism and to some more recent European philosophies that are keen on emphasizing the limits of our rationality.

Key works

The key works of Schelling’s early period are Of the I as the Principle of Philosophy or on the Unconditional in Human Knowledge (1795) [, Ideas for a Philosophy of Nature as Introduction to the Study of this Science (1797) [von Schelling 1988], and System of Transcendental Idealism (1800) [von Schelling 1978]. The most important works of his Philosophy of Identity are Presentation of My System of Philosophy (1801) [Schelling 2001] and The Philosophy of Art (1802-3) [Schelling 2008]. The two central works of his middle period are Of Human Freedom (1809) [Schelling et al 2006] and The Ages of the World (1811-15). And finally the key works of his late period are Foundations of the Positive Philosophy (1832-3) [Schelling & Wirth 2007], Philosophy of Revelation (1841-2), and Philosophy of Mythology (1842) [Schelling & Wirth 2007].


Online encyclopedia articles: Andrew Bowie, “Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling” [Bowie 2008]. Book-length introductory works: Andrew Bowie, Schelling and Modern European Philosophy: An Introduction [Bowie 1993]; Manfred Frank, Eine Einfuehrung in Schellings Philosophie [Frank 1995].

Related categories

801 found
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  1. added 2018-11-28
    Religion and Early German Romanticism.Jacqueline Mariña - forthcoming - In Elizabeth Millan (ed.), Palgrave Handbook of German Romantic Philosophy.
    This paper explores the reception of Kant's understanding of consciousness by both Romantics and Idealists from 1785 to 1799, and traces its impact on the theory of religion. I first look at Kant's understanding of consciousness as developed in the first Critique, and then looks at how figures such as Fichte, Jacobi, Hölderlin, Novalis, and Schleiermacher received this theory of consciousness and its implications for their understanding of religion.
  2. added 2018-09-16
    Menschsein Als Menschwerdung. Rezension Zu G. Cusinato, „Person Und Selbsttranszendenz. Ekstase Und Epoché des Ego Als Individuationsprozesse Bei Schelling Und Scheler". [REVIEW]Guido K. Tamponi - 2014 - Internationales Jahrbuch für Philosophische Anthropologie 4 (1):247-253.
  3. added 2018-07-21
    Neue Literatur zu Schellings Stuttgarter Privatvorlesungen.Christian Jung - 2017 - Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 71 (3):433-444.
    This paper discusses two recent books by Vicki Müller-Lüneschloß on Schelling's Stuttgart Private Lectures.
  4. added 2018-06-20
    Freedom and Nature in Schelling's Philosophy of Art.Devin Zane Shaw - 2010 - New York, NY, USA: Bloomsbury.
    Schelling is often thought to be a protean thinker whose work is difficult to approach or interpret. Devin Zane Shaw shows that the philosophy of art is the guiding thread to understanding Schelling's philosophical development from his early works in 1795-1796 through his theological turn in 1809-1810. -/- Schelling's philosophy of art is the 'keystone' of the system; it unifies his idea of freedom and his philosophy of nature. Schelling's idea of freedom is developed through a critique of the formalism (...)
  5. added 2018-06-19
    Schelling's Method of Darstellung: Presenting Nature Through Experiment.Jelscha Schmid - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 69:12-22.
    Philosophies after Kant maybe more than ever, were confronted with a particular epistemic problem: how can representations correspond with the objects they refer to, that is, how is knowledge possible? Against Kant’s negative solution of the problem, proponents of German idealisms sought to establish a philosophical method that would close the gulf between what our concepts and the world they try to grasp. In his writings on a philosophy of nature, the young Schelling put forward methodological solution, which in interesting (...)
  6. added 2018-06-15
    J.V. Snellmans Philosophie der Persönlichkeit.Lauri Kallio - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Helsinki
    The study discusses the philosophy of Finnish philosopher J.V. Snellman (1806–81). The focus is on Snellman's so-called philosophy of personality, which he presented in his work "Essay on the speculative Development of the Idea of Personality" (Tübingen, 1841). Besides this work he addressed his philosophy of personality in his other works and in his public lectures. -/- In his philosophy of personality Snellman develops the concept of personality within the framework of G.W.F. Hegel's (1770–1831) philosophy. The concept of personality serves (...)
  7. added 2018-06-15
    The Foundation of Evil: The Finnish Hegelian J. V. Snellman (1806–1881) as a Reader of Schelling.Lauri Kallio - 2017 - Schelling-Studien 5 (1):219-233.
    The paper discusses J.V. Snellman's (1806–81) reading of F.W.J. Schelling's (1775–1854) philosophy. The reading was presented in his book "Essay on the speculative Development of the Idea of Personality" (1841). Snellman, the most remarkable Finnish Hegelian, focused on Schelling's text "Philosophical investigations into the essence of human freedom" (1809). In Snellman's view Schelling is a forerunner to Hegel. He was not familiar with the details of Schelling's later critic towards Hegel. -/- Snellman became interested in Schelling, because the latter highlights (...)
  8. added 2018-06-11
    Interpreting Schelling: Critical Essays. [REVIEW]Benjamin Berger - 2016 - Hegel Bulletin 1.
  9. added 2018-06-03
    The Epistemology of Schelling's Philosophy of Nature.Naomi Fisher - 2017 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 34 (3):271-290.
  10. added 2018-06-02
    Intellectual Intuition in Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and Schelling’s System of Transcendental Idealism: The Limits of Self-Consciousness.Peter Sjöstedt-H. - 2002 - Dissertation,
    Master's Dissertation -/- (Awarded Distinction from Warwick University – assessed by Professors Stephen Houlgate and Christine Battersby, 2002).
  11. added 2018-03-22
    Kosmos und Subjektivität in der Frühromantik.Philipp Weber - 2017 - Dissertation, Humboldt University Berlin
  12. added 2018-03-09
    Kosmos und Subjektivität in der Frühromantik.Philipp Weber - 2017 - Dissertation, Humboldt-University Berlin
  13. added 2018-03-09
    Kosmos & Kontingenz. Eine Gegengeschichte.Philipp Weber (ed.) - 2016 - Paderborn, Germany: Fink Verlag.
  14. added 2018-02-17
    Freedom and Nature in Schelling’s Philosophy of Art.Jeremy Proulx - 2011 - Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy/Revue canadienne de philosophie continentale 15 (2):223-226.
  15. added 2018-02-17
    Schelling’s Dialogical Freedom Essay.Jeremy Proulx - 2009 - Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy/Revue canadienne de philosophie continentale 13 (2):176-179.
  16. added 2018-02-16
    Rationality's Demand of its Other: A Comparative Analysis of F.W.J. Schelling's Unvordenkliche and Huineng's Wu-Nien.Bruce Matthews - 2012 - Comparative and Continental Philosophy 4 (1):75-92.
    The speculative power of theoretical reason is not only incapable of grounding itself, but is also powerless to integrate and unify all of the different aspects of our intellectual and spiritual life. This impotency of what Schelling called negative philosophy gives rise to the demand for a positive philosophy that supplies the integrative grounding in which das Unvordenkliche—that before which nothing can be thought—is rooted. I contrast what Schelling calls an “inverted concept” with Huineng’s account of wu-nien (no-thought) found in (...)
  17. added 2018-02-12
    Essais et conférences, tome I : Sur l'histoire de la philosophie.Franz Brentano - 2018 - Paris: Vrin.
    Ce premier tome de Essais et conférences de Franz Brentano comporte seize études qui, pour la plupart, paraissent pour la première fois en traduction française. Ces textes sont regroupés dans quatre sections qui portent respectivement sur l'état de la philosophie et ses principes, sa philosophie de l'histoire et sa théorie des quatre phases, ses réflexions sur les philosophes Auguste Comte, Plotin, Schelling et Thomas d'Aquin, et finalement son débat avec Édouard Zeller, l'auteur de La philosophie des Grecs, autour de l'interprétation (...)
  18. added 2018-02-07
    "Spinoza's Metaphysics and His Relationship to Hegel and the German Idealists".Yitzhak Melamed - 2017 - An Interview with Richard Marshall. 3:AM Magazine.
  19. added 2018-01-30
    Schelling’s Philosophy: Freedom, Nature, and Systematicity.G. Anthony Bruno (ed.) - forthcoming - Oxford University Press.
  20. added 2018-01-24
    Die Stellung des Seins bei Fichte, Schelling und Nishida.Hitoshi Minobe - 2003 - Fichte-Studien 21:63-72.
  21. added 2018-01-06
    Schelling in the Kierkegaardian Project: Between Kantian Critique and the Second Ethics.Chandler D. Rogers - 2017 - Kierkegaard Studies Yearbook 2017 (1):245-265.
    Seeking to determine what it is that incites Kierkegaard’s enthusiasm during Schelling’s early lectures at Berlin, then what it is that thoroughly extin- guishes his hope in months to follow, I establish: first, that the criticisms of Hegel in Schelling’s negative philosophy depend upon Kantian distinctions and reflect Kant’s critical methodology; secondly, that the leveling function Schelling assigns to these distinctions corresponds to the notion of irony as a de- structive force found in The Concept of Irony; finally, that Kierkegaard (...)
  22. added 2017-12-26
    Swedenborgs Erlösung in Schellings System.Christian Jung - forthcoming - In Andrés Quero-Sánchez (ed.), Eine Lichtung des deutschen Waldes. Leiden, Boston: Brill.
  23. added 2017-09-21
    Nature's Capacities.Charlotte Alderwick - 2016 - Angelaki 21 (4):59-76.
    This paper draws a number of parallels between Schelling’s Naturphilosophie and contemporary work in the metaphysics of powers. This concept is being applied to a range of debates, however a distinct lack of work exists focusing on extending this concept to ontology as a whole. I argue that Schelling’s Naturphilosophie provides insight into what this kind of system would look like. I begin with a brief outline of the characterisation and use of powers in the contemporary literature to show the (...)
  24. added 2017-09-21
    A Will Free to Presence... Or Not: Schelling on the Originality of the Will.Tyler Tritten - 2013 - Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 18 (1):67-78.
    This article presents Schelling’s doctrine of creation, primarily as outlined in his lectures on mythology and revelation. Schelling there presents not a will to power, but a power to will or not to will—the decisiveness of freedom rather than blind willing. Accordingly, Schelling is able to surpass the tradition of the metaphysics of presence through freedom as an unprecognoscible act prior to potency/power. Schelling’s will is not natural but preternatural, capable of bringing forth something original, i.e., that which first becomes (...)
  25. added 2017-09-16
    Process Philosophy and the Emergent Theory of Mind: Whitehead, Lloyd Morgan and Schelling.Arran Gare - 2002 - Concrescence 3:1-12.
    Attempts to ‘naturalize’ phenomenology challenge both traditional phenomenology and traditional approaches to cognitive science. They challenge Edmund Husserl’s rejection of naturalism and his attempt to establish phenomenology as a foundational transcendental discipline, and they challenge efforts to explain cognition through mainstream science. While appearing to be a retreat from the bold claims made for phenomenology, it is really its triumph. Naturalized phenomenology is spearheading a successful challenge to the heritage of Cartesian dualism. This converges with the reaction against Cartesian thought (...)
  26. added 2017-09-09
    From Kant to Schelling to Process Metaphysics: On the Way to Ecological Civilization.Arran Gare - 2011 - Cosmos and History : The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 7 (2):26-69.
    The post-Kantians were inspired by Kant’s Critique of Judgment to forge a new synthesis of natural philosophy, art and history that would overcome the dualisms and gulfs within Kant’s philosophy. Focusing on biology and showing how Schelling reworked and transformed Kant’s insights, it is argued that Schelling was largely successful in laying the foundations for this synthesis, although he was not always consistent in building on these foundations. To appreciate this achievement, it is argued that Schelling should not be interpreted (...)
  27. added 2017-07-24
    Die Paradoxale Struktur des Absoluten in Schellings Identitätssystem.M. Bachmann - 1994 - Philosophisches Jahrbuch 101 (1):76-97.
    The essay provides a new interpretation of Schelling's theory of the Absolute.
  28. added 2017-07-10
    ““Deus Sive Vernunft: Schelling’s Transformation of Spinoza’s God” in G. Anthony Bruno (Ed.), Freedom, Nature and Systematicity: Essays on F.W.J. Schelling (Oxford: Oxford University Press, Forthcoming).Yitzhak Melamed - forthcoming - In G. Anthony Bruno (ed.), Freedom, Nature and Systematicity: Essays on F.W.J. Schelling. Oxford University Press.
    On 6 January 1795, the twenty-year-old Schelling—still a student at the Tübinger Stift—wrote to his friend and former roommate, Hegel: “Now I am working on an Ethics à la Spinoza. It is designed to establish the highest principles of all philosophy, in which theoretical and practical reason are united”. A month later, he announced in another letter to Hegel: “I have become a Spinozist! Don’t be astonished. You will soon hear how”. At this period in his philosophical development, Schelling had (...)
  29. added 2017-03-26
    Schelling on Understanding Organisms.Anton Kabeshkin - 2017 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 25 (6):1180-1201.
    In this paper, I attempt to reconstruct Schelling’s theory of organism, primarily as it is elaborated in the First Outline of a System of the Philosophy of Nature and the Introduction to the Outline. First, I discuss the challenge that the properties of organisms presented to the dominant scientific viewpoint by the end of the eighteenth century. I present different responses to this challenge, including reductive materialism, metaphysical and heuristic vitalism, and the Kantian response, and I situate Schelling’s account of (...)
  30. added 2017-03-20
    The Grundlogik of German Idealism: The Ambiguity of the Hegel-Schelling Relationship in Žižek.Joseph Carew - 2011 - International Journal of Žižek Studies 5 (1):1.
    Following a series of textual gestures which suggest that Schelling is the culmination of the German Idealist tradition, this essay is an attempt to articulate the ambiguity of the Hegel-Schelling relationship in Slavoj Žižek's work and its productive potential. Characterizing his own dialectical materialism again and again as Hegelian, but never a Schellingian project, Žižek often belies the central role played by late Schelling of the Freiheitsschrift and the Weltalter in the self-unfolding logic of the tradition. But why is there (...)
  31. added 2017-03-19
    Slavoj Žižek and the Ontology of Political Imagination.Joseph Carew - 2011 - International Journal of Žižek Studies 5 (3).
    My aim is to show how Žižek's political philosophy is informed and made possible by his reading of German Idealism, thus establishing an intrinsic relationship between Žižek's politics and ontology, by focusing on the problematic of “political imagination.” First, we will see to what degree Žižek's interpretation of the Schellingian logic of the Grund lays the foundation for his own appropriation of Marx's analysis of capital and this theorization of the sociopolitical deadlock we find ourselves in. Next, I will show (...)
  32. added 2017-03-11
    Über die Nichtigkeit des Gegebenen: Schellings und Hegels Verteidigung des ontologischen Arguments und der Deutsche Idealismus im Spätmittelalter.Andrés Quero-sánchez - 2011 - Bochumer Philosophisches Jahrbuch Fur Antike Und Mittelalter 14 (1):191-232.
  33. added 2017-02-15
    A Alma Humana Enquanto Ponto Central Enigmático Entre Natureza E Espírito.Wolfdietrich Schmied-Kowarzik - 2014 - Kriterion: Revista de Filosofia 55 (130):715-737.
    Tomando como ponto de partida o diálogo "Clara", escrito por Schelling, o autor faz da conexão da Natureza com o Espírito o fio condutor da trajetória do pensamento schellinguiano. É, antes de tudo, na disputa com as filosofias de Fichte e Hegel, que se revela a convergência entre a concepção transcendental do Espírito e a filosofia da Natureza, dando-se assim a entender a importância de um conceito especulativo da Natureza como acesso ao mundo real. Taking the dialogue "Clara", written by (...)
  34. added 2017-02-14
    Andrew Bowie.Charles Taylor Okrent & Richard Rorty - 2013 - In Francois Raffoul & Eric S. Nelson (eds.), The Bloomsbury Companion to Heidegger. Bloomsbury Academic.
  35. added 2017-02-13
    Die Theodizeeproblematik in Schellings Freiheitsschrift.Christian Iber - 2001 - Freiburger Zeitschrift für Philosophie Und Theologie 48 (1-2):146-164.
  36. added 2017-02-13
    Dio's Use of Mythology”.Suzanne Said - 2000 - In Simon Swain (ed.), Dio Chrysostom: Politics, Letters, and Philosophy. Oxford University Press. pp. 161--86.
  37. added 2017-02-13
    Divine Creation and Human Creation: The Possibility of Good and Evil as Outlined by Schelling in His' Freiheitsschrift'.M. Millucci - 1999 - Rivista di Filosofia Neo-Scolastica 91 (1):50-71.
  38. added 2017-02-12
    Sky-Maiden and World Mythology.Yuri Berezkin - 2010 - Iris 31:27-39.
  39. added 2017-02-12
    So What Is the Sex of Mythology?Marcel Detienne & Janet Lloyd - 2008 - Arion 15 (3):39-46.
  40. added 2017-02-11
    Paul Tillich Und Die Schelling-Renaissance(N).Junjie Yang - 2013 - International Yearbook for Tillich Research 8 (1).
  41. added 2017-02-10
    Art History Versus Art Mythology.Deborah L. Smith-Shank - 1988 - Semiotics:487-492.
  42. added 2017-02-10
    The Mythology of Methodology.Ian I. Mitroff - 1972 - Theory and Decision 2 (3):274-290.
  43. added 2017-02-10
    "Metafisica E Rivelazione Nella Filosofia Positiva di Schelling," by Adriano Bausola; and "Genesi E Sviluppo Del Rosminianesimo Nel Pensiero de Michele F, Sciacca," Vol. 1, by Emilio Pignoloni.James Collins - 1967 - Modern Schoolman 44 (2):191-192.
  44. added 2017-02-09
    Modern European Philosophy.Jenny Teichman & G. Graham White (eds.) - 1994 - Macmillan.
  45. added 2017-02-09
    O Absoluto No Pensamento de Antero E Em Posteriores Filósofos Portugueses.Anna Maria Moog Rodrigues - 1991 - Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 47 (2):247 - 253.
    Antero, contrariamente a Schelling, não aceita a identificação do Absoluto ideal com o Absoluto real. Segundo ele, o Absoluto e a Realidade constituem uma antinomia radical, dado que "a razão não tem de si mesma ... conhecimento total e infalível". O Absoluto de Antero é ideal, o ideal que atrai a força dinâmica em sua trajectória no sentido da auto-realização, reconhecendo-se como Absoluto, independente do mundo fenoménico, só quando tiver atingido a mais alta consciência-de-si. O pensamento filosófico de Antero, expresso (...)
  46. added 2017-02-09
    O IV Centenario de Jacob Boehme.Mário Garcia - 1975 - Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 31 (1):98 - 99.
  47. added 2017-02-09
    Jacob Boehme.J. D. C. - 1969 - Review of Metaphysics 23 (2):356-356.
  48. added 2017-02-08
    Schlegel's Fragmentary Project.Roy Brand - 2004 - Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 9 (1):37-52.
    This paper investigates the new form of writing—the fragmentary project—that Friedrich Schlegel developed in response to Kant’s systematic philosophy.The fragments, I argue, are not anti-systematic; rather, they elucidate the idea that philosophy, like the modern work of art, no longer represents the unity of a closed system but a unity beyond the system. The fragmentary project is an ambitious attempt to find a form of philosophical coherence beyond the compulsion of a system. In contrast to the traditional view which regards (...)
  49. added 2017-02-08
    The Cows in the Dark Night.H. S. Harris - 1987 - Dialogue 26 (4):627-.
  50. added 2017-02-08
    Friedrich Wilhelm, The Great Elector of Brandenburg. A Political Biography, Part 1.Wolfgang Schlegel - 1973 - Philosophy and History 6 (2):236-238.
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