Idealistic Studies 13 (2):132-139 (1983)

Abstract
“Daher der Schleier der Schwermut, der über die ganze Natur aufgebreitet ist, die tiefe unzerstörliche Melancolie alles Lebens.” This remark of the German idealist philosopher Schelling seems to be as ungraspable as any discussion involving God, “the ground of darkness,” and the existence of Evil. Do these questions belong only to those who are motivated by antiquarian concerns and find such interests in philosophers whose speculations take them into the “mysteries” of life, divine and human, and into those forces of evil and chaos which are inseparable from love and creativity? If this is true, then Schelling is the happing hunting ground for these souls whose interests drive them to speculate and ruminate in the “deep” of the dialectic of eros and in the gnostic reflections about the positive nature of evil. But more is involved in our thinking about such philosophers as Schelling, whose System of Transcendental Idealism is one of the great works of German idealism, and this can be stated simply: with Schelling we can speak of metaphysical concerns. God, Freedom, and Evil remain the fundamental problems of speculation. We can speculate about them because our predecessors found these questions of such vitality that they identified them with philosophy. What would philosophy be without these concerns? I believe that there is no such thing as fashion in philosophy. The problems are eternal; they have been from the beginning and will be as long as philosophy is philosophy. Schelling in his Stuttgarter Privatvorlesungen asked how a philosophical system was possible and answered it: “The true system cannot be discovered, it can be found already existent in the divine understanding.” There is a simple conclusion to be drawn from this: philosophy already is, it must forever be found, and we must learn to remember it. This is a notion which our Greek predecessors would never have us forget. Different from their endeavors, philosophy already has its truths; our task is to reexamine them and make them again explicable to ourselves. We need to recall that the system has already been given, “es hat lange schon ein System gegeben,” before we ever had the intention to think the system. The philosopher looks back and, different from his colleagues in the sciences and humanities, he does not seek new truths, but only attempts to develop the capacity to comprehend “old” truths, which are not old in the sense of decaying, but old as primal truths. He knows, however, that these “old” truths will always be truths not simply for him, but for all thinking men. He knows that they are “the” truths in and through which he recognizes himself as a thinking being, as philosopher, as the ground of his self-awareness.
Keywords Continental Philosophy  History of Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 0046-8541
DOI idstudies19831323
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