The Dialectic of Human Freedom: Schelling on Love and Evil

Philosophy and Theology 8 (3):213-230 (1994)

Abstract

Schelling’s philosophy has been construed either as endorsing a Christian view of revelation or as setting the stage for an existentialist account of human freedom. There has been a tendency to ignore the interface of Schelling’s task, namely, as exploring the presuppositions that govern an attempt to rethink the affinity between the Divine and the human will. This paper aims to rectify the above deficiency; it shows how Schelling offers a more radical account of human freedom than can be found in either a conventional Christian or in a secular account of the frailty of the human situation. The key to this interpretation lies in showing that Schelling developed a dialectic of human freedom which establishes how the self-devisiveness of evil can arise as a corollary to the harmony of love. Through his dialectic, Schelling cultivates the insights of German idealism in a manner which clarifies rather than undermines the basic motifs of Christianity.

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