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

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  1. Das Antike Denken in der Philosophie Schellings.Rainer Adolphi, Jörg Jantzen, Internationale Schelling-Gesellschaft & Università di Milano - 2004
  2. 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 (...)
  3. Atemporal Essence and Existential Freedom in Schelling.Charlotte Alderwick - 2015 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 23 (1):115-137.
    Although it is clear in Schelling's Freiheitsschrift that he takes an agent's atemporal choice between good and evil to be central to understanding human freedom, there is no consensus in the literature and no adequate account of how to understand this choice. Further, the literature fails to render intelligible how existential freedom is possible in the light of this atemporal choice. I demonstrate that, despite their differences, the dominant accounts in the literature are all guilty of these failings and argue (...)
  4. Frederick de Wolfe Bolman, Jr. Schelling, The Age of the World. [REVIEW]Rudolf Allers - 1943 - The Thomist 6:122.
  5. La Spátphilosophie de Schelling y El Materialismo Filosófico (Manuel F. Lorenzo, La Última Orilla).Marcelino Luna Almazara - 1990 - El Basilisco 3:89.
  6. Memoria, libertad y profecía. Un acercamiento a "Las edades del mundo" de F. W. J. Schelling.Fernando Pérez-Borbujo Alvarez - 2006 - Revista de filosofía (Chile) 31 (1):101-122.
    En el presente artículo intentaremos aproximarnos a uno de los textos más emblemáticos del pensamiento de Schelling, Las Edades del Mundo (Die Weltalter), escrito entre 1813-1815, donde se encuentra todo el misterio de la filosofía medía de este autor que va desde el Ensayo de la libertad de 1809 hasta su reaparición en Munich y posteriormente en Berlín, donde sustituirá a Hegel a su muerte y formulará su famosa filosofía positiva, constituida por su Filosofía de la Mitología y de la (...)
  7. History, Idealism, and Schelling.Karl Ameriks - 2014 - In Fred Rush & Jürgen Stolzenberg (eds.), Geschichte/History. De Gruyter. pp. 123-142.
  8. Schelling E o Caráter Dual da Luz.Kleber Carneiro Amora - 2008 - Philósophos - Revista de Filosofia 13 (1):109-124.
    Normal 0 21 false false false PT-BR X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Tabela normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} Neste trabalho procuramos mostrar como Schelling, baseado na dialética especulativa, antecipou, tal como o fizera em relação a inúmeros outros fenômenos físicos, uma importante teoria sobre a natureza da luz, a qual o físico Louis de Broglie demonstrou (...)
  9. Sobre Virtudes E Vícios. Aristóteles - 2014 - Kriterion: Revista de Filosofia 55 (130):739-746.
    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 (...)
  10. Começo E Forma da Filosofia: Reflexões Sobre Fichte, Schelling E Hegel.Christoph Asmuth - 1998 - Revista Filosófica de Coimbra 7 (13):55-70.
  11. Schelling Zwischen Fichte Und Hegel = Between Fichte and Hegel.Christoph Asmuth, Alfred Denker & Michael G. Vater - 2000
  12. Schelling and Evil in 1809.Roberto Augusto Miguez - 2010 - Convivium: revista de filosofía 23:73-90.
  13. La crítica de Schelling a la filosofía de Spinoza.Roberto Augusto Míguez - 2009 - Estudios Filosóficos 58 (168):293-312.
  14. Genealogy of Time and Space in Schelling's Die Weltalter.Roberto Augusto - 2008 - Pensamiento 64 (241):499-509.
  15. La Polémica Epistolar Entre Schelling Y Eschenmayer.Roberto Augusto - 2007 - Anuario Filosófico 40 (3).
  16. Jason M. Wirth: Schelling’s Practice of the Wild. Time, Art, Imagination.Dennis Vanden Auweele - 2016 - Philosophischer Literaturanzeiger 69 (3):281-284.
  17. A Spätphilosophie de F. W. Schelling E o Desdobrar da Consciência Humana.Cristiane A. De Azevedo - 2014 - Kriterion: Revista de Filosofia 55 (130):549-560.
    Em 1821, Friedrich W. Schelling inaugura um novo caminho para o seu pensamento. Esse novo caminho, como afirma o próprio filósofo, divide sua filosofia em duas partes, a saber, a filosofia negativa, que diz respeito a toda sua produção anterior, e a filosofia positiva que se inaugura a partir das aulas de Erlangen. Contudo, como veremos neste artigo, suas duas filosofias estão unidas na busca pelo pensamento da Unidade. Essa busca traduz-se na Spätphilosophie como busca do Absoluto. O presente artigo (...)
  18. 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.
  19. Art and “the Sublime Truth”: On Schelling's Philosophy of Art.Béla Bacsó - 2007 - Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 28 (1):195-208.
  20. On the Essence of Beauty in Schelling.Damir Barbarić - 2006 - Phainomena 55:181-192.
    Although arguing for the traditionally posed issue of the beautiful as related to shining and showing, Schelling views this phenomenon from the very start within the highly dynamic field of speculative identity-oriented philosophy as the unity of the absolute, infinite, and finite, specific. The beautiful only arises out of their conflict, whereby the finite is necessarily given the central role. This is why Schelling proclaims sculpture to be the highest manifestation of visual arts, which is a real embodiment of the (...)
  21. Metafísica Do Irracional – Mal Radical Em Schelling E Schopenhauer.Jair Barboza - 2009 - Veritas – Revista de Filosofia da Pucrs 54 (2):57-64.
    Este artigo intenta mostrar as bases conceituais de uma metafísica do irracional em Schelling e Schopenhuaer, quando ambos os autores identificam na vontade a essência cega e irracional do mundo.
  22. Polaridade, alma cósmica, graus de desenvolvimento da natureza: o nascimento da Naturphilosophie de Schelling.Jair Barboza - 2001 - Discurso 32:249-288.
    O artigo mostra como se originou a Naturphilosophie , filosofia-da-natureza, de Schelling a partir do seu confronto crítico com a biologia de Kielmeyer, as concepções de natureza de Goethe e sobretudo com a teoria do organismo da Terceira Crítica de Kant.
  23. Silent Partnerships: Schelling, Jung, and the Romantic Metasubject.Gord Barentsen - 2015 - Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy/Revue canadienne de philosophie continentale 19 (1):67-79.
    Despite Carl Jung’s stated debts to Kant, Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, this paper articulates a more profound yet silent intellectual partnership between Schelling’s philosophy and analytical psychology. Schelling’s metaphysics navigate the aporias Jung often encounters in his psychology; Jung provides Schelling’s metaphysics with a therapeutics and mode of being in the world. This paper reads the actants’ dynamism in Schelling’s First Outline and the potencies' work of yearning in the 1815 Ages of the World forward to Jungian metapsychology, which thinks Schelling (...)
  24. German Idealism Meets Indian Vedanta and Kasmiri Saivism.Katherine Elise Barhydt & J. M. Fritzman - 2013 - Comparative Philosophy 4 (2).
    0 0 1 152 943 Lewis & Clark College 21 2 1093 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE Regarding each philosophy as a variation of that of Spinoza , t his article compares the German Idealism of Schelling and Hegel with the Indian Ved ā nta of Śaṅkara and Rāmānuja, as well as Abhinavagupta’s Kaśmiri Śaivism. It argues that only Hegel’s philosophy does not fail. For Śaṅkara, Rāmānuja, Abhinavagupta, and Schelling, the experience of ultimate reality—Brahman for Śaṅkara (...)
  25. Schelling e a constituição da estética musical.Fernando de Moraes Barros - 2007 - Trans/Form/Ação 30 (2):93-114.
    O presente artigo conta investigar o processo de constituição da estética musical a partir da teoria da arte elaborada por F. W. J. von Schelling. Para tanto, espera-se mostrar a maneira pela qual o filósofo alemão procura redimensionar as bases que davam sustentação à chamada estética sistemática para, a partir de uma ponderação extremamente inovadora, caracterizar a música como um objeto original de saber.
  26. Kierkegaard e Schelling: Il rapporto tra coscienza e rivelazione in Briciole di Filosofia e Filosofia della Rivelazione.Ingrid Basso - 2008 - Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 64 (2/4):1099 - 1111.
    O presente artigo apresenta-se como esboço de um estudo mais aprofundado do confronto teorético entre a filosofia de Kierkegaard e a do último Schelling. Depois de uma breve introdução de carácter histórico sobre as circunstâncias que levaram Kierkegaard a Berlin, onde haveria de permanecer entre Outubro de 1841 e Março de 1842, em ordem a poder assistir pessoalmente aos desenvolvimentos da "filosofia positiva" de Schelling (na qual esperava poder encontrar uma alternativa à lógica hegeliana) expressos nas lições sobre "Filosofia da (...)
  27. Literature, Music, and Science in Nineteenth Century Russian Culture: Prince Odoyevskiy’s Quest for a Natural Enharmonic Scale.Dimitri Bayuk - 2002 - Science in Context 15 (2).
    Known today mostly as an author of Romantic short stories and fairy tales for children, Prince Vladimir Odoyevskiy was a distinguished thinker of his time, philosopher and bibliophile. The scope of his interests includes also history of magic arts and alchemy, German Romanticism, Church music. An attempt to understand the peculiarity of eight specific modes used in chants of Russian Orthodox Church led him to his own musical theory based upon well-known writings by Zarlino, Leibniz, Euler, Prony. He realized his (...)
  28. Schelling: An Introduction to the System of Freedom.Edward Beach - 1984 - Philosophical Books 25 (3):157-159.
  29. The Later Schelling's Conception of Dialectical Method, in Contradistinction to Hegel's.Edward A. Beach - 1990 - The Owl of Minerva 22 (1):35-54.
  30. The Potencies of God: Schelling's Philosophy of Mythology.Edward Allen Beach - 1994 - State University of New York Press.
    _Explores the metaphysical, epistemological, and hermeneutical theories of Schelling’s final system concerning the nature and meaning of religious mythology._.
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  31. The Potencies of God(S): Schelling's Philosophy of Mythology.Edward Allen Beach - 1994 - State University of New York Press.
    Explores the metaphysical, epistemological, and hermeneutical theories of Schelling’s final system concerning the nature and meaning of religious mythology.
  32. Schelling's Philosophy of Mythology: A Critical Analysis.Edward Allen Beach - 1988 - Dissertation, Stanford University
    This monograph explores the metaphysical and hermeneutical principles underlying Schelling's final system concerning the nature of religious mythology. This system was worked out in the last two decades of his life and delivered in a series of lectures in Berlin between 1841 and 1846. Treatment of this topic requires a combination of methodological approaches--hermeneutical, historical, and philosophical, but my primary emphasis is on the philosophy. I give a detailed analysis of Schelling's "Potenzenlehre" and discuss its logical implications for both the (...)
  33. Jason Wirth, Ed., Schelling Now Reviewed By.Alain Beauclair - 2006 - Philosophy in Review 26 (2):151-154.
  34. Jason Wirth, Ed., Schelling Now. [REVIEW]Alain Beauclair - 2006 - Philosophy in Review 26:151-154.
  35. The Productivity of Nature. Schelling's Natural Philosophy and the New Paradigm of Self-Organization in the Sciences.Rainer Beer - 1989 - Philosophy and History 22 (1):16-18.
  36. The Historical Pivot: Philosophy of History in Hegel, Schelling, and Hölderlin.William A. Behun - 2006 - Triad Press.
    The historical background -- Epicycle and Telos : Hegel on history -- Schelling and the time(s) of the Weltalter -- Hölderlin and history : philosophy and tragedy -- Hyperion and history.
  37. The Legacy of Neoplatonism in F. W. J. Schelling's Thought.Werner Beierwaltes - 2002 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 10 (4):393 – 428.
    F.W.J. Schelling, one of the essential thinkers in the development of German Idealism, formed his own thought not only in a critical dialogue with Kant's and Fichte's transcendentalism and Hegel's earlier conception of thinking, but also in an intensive discussion with Plato and Aristotle. Over and above that, Neoplatonism - especially Plotinus, Proclus and the Christian Dionysius the Areopagite - played a decisive role in Schelling's reception and transformation of ancient philosophy.Selecting the manifold aspects which could be reflected on in (...)
  38. El Neoplatonismo de Schelling.Werner Beierwaltes - 2000 - Anuario Filosófico 33 (67):395-442.
    The author reflects on some perspective of the early, medium and last thought of Schelling, to show how a glance to its objective and historical entailment with the neoplatonic thought can clarify the structure of its philosophy. In the philosophy of Schelling (a figure of the philosophy who has determined "modernity") the permanent importance of the neoplatonism is revealed.
  39. Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling.Werner Beierwaltes - 1978 - Philosophy and History 11 (2):127-129.
  40. F. W. J. Schelling.Werner Beierwaltes - 1978 - Philosophy and History 11 (2):135-136.
  41. F. W. J. Schelling: Letters and Documents. Vol. 3. [REVIEW]Werner Beierwaltes - 1978 - Philosophy and History 11 (2):135-136.
  42. Speculation and Facticity. A Study on Schelling's Concept of Freedom During His Middle and Late Period.Werner Beierwaltes - 1972 - Philosophy and History 5 (1):26-27.
  43. Mathematical Method in Kant, Schelling, and Hegel.Frederick Beiser - 2010 - In Michael Friedman, Mary Domski & Michael Dickson (eds.), Discourse on a New Method: Reinvigorating the Marriage of History and Philosophy of Science. Open Court.
  44. SCHELLING, F. W. J. VON.-Werke. Auswahl in Drei Bänden. [REVIEW]A. W. Benn - 1908 - Mind 17:281.
  45. Traduit de l'Absolu : Forces, Concepts Et Puissances Dans Les Âges du Monde Et au-Delà.Gérard Bensussan - 2010 - In Jean-François Courtine & Gérard Bensussan (eds.), Schelling. Les Editions du Cerf.
  46. Sky-Maiden and World Mythology.Yuri Berezkin - 2010 - Iris 31:27-39.
  47. Interpreting Schelling: Critical Essays. [REVIEW]Benjamin Berger - 2016 - Hegel Bulletin 1.
  48. Schelling’s Theory of Symbolic Language: Forming the System of Identity. [REVIEW]Benjamin Berger - 2015 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 23 (1):208-211.
  49. Review: The Dark Ground of Spirit: Schelling and the Unconscious. [REVIEW]Benjamin Berger - 2014 - Hegel Bulletin 35 (1).
  50. Review: The Suspension of Reason in Hegel and Schelling. [REVIEW]Benjamin Berger - 2014 - Hegel Bulletin 35 (1).
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