Idealistic Studies 42 (1):23-35 (2012)

Tyler Tritten
Gonzaga University
This article argues that Schelling, contrary to the traditional view which situates him as the mediator between Fichte and Hegel, the link from the absolute activity of the ego to the absolute activity constitutive of transcendental idealism, offered one of the first attempts to ground philosophy in a fundamental passivity. Schelling’s Erlangen lectures (1820-21) in particular provide a penetrating critique of idealistic modes of thought. I will show that these lectures, along with Schelling’s late philosophy as a whole, elaborate consciousness as what is most problematic instead of the firm foundation. Instead of beginning with transcendental consciousness as its terminus a quo he views it as the terminus ad quem, namely, that which is most in need of explanation and justification. Consciousness arises in passivity thought as a preconscious affection. I will first outline the idea of passivity through an exposition of Entsetzung. Next, I will analyze Schelling’s notion of the World Law or law of either/or as the impetus to freedom, that which sets freedom free. I will then show how this manner of thought circumvents traditional metaphysical thinking, i.e., the so-called philosophy of presence. Schelling offers not a will to power but freedom as the will to or not to power, as that which can or can also not be. Lastly, I will briefly outline some of the ramifications of this for Schelling’s philosophical anthropology
Keywords Continental Philosophy  History of Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 0046-8541
DOI 10.5840/idstudies20124212
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