This book provides the English-speaking world with a comprehensive account of the still largely unknown work of Schelling’s philosophy of mythology and revelation. Its achievement, however, is not archival but philosophical, elucidating the relation between Schelling and onto-theology. It explains how Schelling dealt with the problem of nihilism and onto-theology well before Nietzsche and Heidegger, arguing that Schelling surpasses onto-theology or the philosophy of presence a century prior to Heidegger. Overall, the author provocatively suggests that Heidegger is perhaps Schelling’s genuine (...) heir and by comprehensively interpreting Schelling’s multifaceted late lectures he analyzes issues as diverse as the Ancient relation between thinking and Being, the Medieval debate between voluntarism and intellectualism, the overcoming of modern subjectivism and German Idealism as well as many themes in contemporary philosophy. (shrink)
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 (...) been deeply under the spell of Fichte’s new philosophy and the Wissenschaftslehre. The text Schelling was writing at the time was the early Vom Ich als Prinzip der Philosophie, though his characterization of this text would much better fit the somewhat later work which is the focus of the current paper: Schelling’s 1801 Darstellung meines System der Philosophie (hereafter: Presentation). The Presentation is a text written more geometrico, following the style of Spinoza’s Ethics. While Spinoza’s influence and inspiration is stated explicitly and unmistakably in Schelling’s preface, the content of this composition might seem quite foreign to Spinoza’s philosophy, so much so, in fact, that Michael Vater—the astute translator and editor of the recent English translation of the text—has contended that “despite the formal similarities between Spinoza’s geometrical method and Schelling’s numbered mathematical-geometrical constructions, Schelling’s direct debts to Spinoza are few”. The Presentation is an extremely dense and difficult text, and while I agree that at first glance Schelling’s engagement with the concept of reason (Vernunft) and the identity formula ‘A=A’ seems to have little if anything to do with Spinoza (especially since Spinoza’s key terminology of ‘God’, ‘causa sui’, ‘substance’, ‘attribute’, and ‘mode’ is barely mentioned in the Presentation), I suspect that at a deeper level Schelling is attempting to transform Spinoza’s system by replacing God, Spinoza’s ultimate reality, with reason. Though this might at first seem bizarre, I believe it can be profitably motivated and explained upon further reflection. It is this transformation of Spinoza’s God into (the early) Schelling’s reason that is the primary subject of this study. I develop this paper in the following order. In the first part I provide a very brief overview of Schelling’s lifelong engagement with Spinoza’s philosophy, which will prepare us for my study of the 1801 Presentation. In the second part, I consider the formal structure and rhetoric of the Presentation against the background of Spinoza’s Ethics, and show how Schelling regularly imitates Spinoza’s tiniest rhetorical gestures. In the third and final part I turn to the opening of the Presentation, and argue that Schelling attempts there to distance himself from Fichte by developing a conception of reason as the absolute, or the identity of the subject and object, just as the thinking substance and the extended substance are identified in Spinoza’s God. (shrink)
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 (...) this field, I want to make plausible as a transcendental analogy to Plotinus' concept of self-knowledge Schelling's requirement for a raising-up and transformation of the finite 'I' into the form of the Absolute, whose central features converge with the goal of the Plotinian self - transformation of thought into a timeless self-thinking and its ground.A main part of this paper discusses Schelling's and Plotinus' concept of nature as a dynamic process constituted by an immanent 'creating theoria'. Furthermore we find in Schelling's theory of the Absolute as the 'utterly One' a union of Plotinus' notion of a pure One beyond Being with that of the reflexive self-presence of nous, so that this Absolute can be understood as an All-Unity which grounds and embraces all actuality - because it is in itself the most unifying self-affirmation or self-mediation. What follows is a reflection on the anagogical function of art, especially from the viewpoint of Plotinus' non-Platonic rehabilitation of art as an imitation of nature. The last perspectives focus on Schelling's concept of matter and emanation - as different from and at the same time coherent with that of Plotinus - and on Schelling's theory of an absolute self - willing will in connection with Plotinus' Enneads VI.8, 'On free will and the will of the One' as a causa sui. (shrink)
F. H. Bradley did not write extensively or systematically on the philosophy of religion, and much of what he did write has the character of either tentative speculation or the pre-emptive rebuttal of potential misinterpretations that might threaten his general philosophical position. ‘I admit that on this subject I never had much to say’ he warns. But such a remark should not discourage us from considering his views on this topic, since the disclaimer is typically Bradleian, and more reflective of (...) his high standards for what is required in order to claim to have something to say about some matter than of any genuine lack of opinion. On closer inspection we find that he has, scattered throughout his work, a great many important things to say about this subject. (shrink)
This paper explores the relationship between Toni Morrison’s 1987 novel, Beloved, and F. W. J. Schelling’s 1813 draft of Ages of the World. It shows that Die Weltalter, contrary to much recent scholarship, which often stresses the many ways Schelling anticipated the antimetaphysical trends of post-Hegelian thought, should be first approached as a genuine attempt tobe faithful to the event of first creation and time’s “indivisible remainders”. The paper will show that Schelling’s “indivisible remainders”, the forgotten and “disremembered” of history, (...) force his thought to the limits of Romantic and idealist reflection and toward the traumatic encounters of Beloved. Morrison’s depiction of the irrepressible longing for life and recognition amid the pain and ugliness of American slavery parallels Schelling’s efforts to understand the tremendous need for life and fellowship that first urged god toward creation, when primordial longing was overcome in a child and a god entered time. (shrink)
Russian Marxism is the outcome of two distinct traditions, namely, nineteenth-century Russian radicalism and Western European Marxism. In this paper I shall briefly trace its descent from these traditions and try to distinguish those features of it which differentiate it both from the older radicalism and from the Marxism of Marx and Engels. I shall deal in turn with three main topics, the nineteenth-century radical tradition, early Russian Marxism, and finally, Leninism.
W. Norris Clarke's metaphysics of the universe as a journey rests on six major positions: the unrestricted dynamism of the mind, the primacy of the act of existence, the participation structure of reality, and the person, considered as both the starting point of philosophy and the source of the categories needed for a flexible contemporary metaphysics. Reflecting on his conscious life and the universe around him, the finite person mounts by a two-fold path to its Infinite source, who, though immutable (...) in His natural being, is mutable in the intentional being of His personal knowledge and love. The personal God is the efficient cause from whom the universe comes and the final cause to whom it returns.Less optimistic than Norris Clarke, John Caputo wonders about his metaphysics of the person. In a hermeneutical interpretation of the human face, the person through whom Being "sounds" discloses an ambiguous Being that both reveals and conceals itself. Far from grounding a casual ascent to God, hermeneutical phenomenology allows us no more than the right to interpret the world and its transcendent source through our own free decision.Although impressed by Norris Clarke's attempt to introduce mutability into God, Lewis Ford still finds Clarke's Thomistic God unacceptable. As a Whiteheadian, he proposes in place of Thomas' God, whose perfection consists in static unity, a God whose perfection consists in a never-ending process of unification. John Smith argues against the traditional dichotomy made between the ontological and cosmological arguments. Rather than opposed methods of proving God's existence, they should be taken as complementary journeys to the divine presence which discloses itself, although diversely, in the soul and in the world. There are parallels between Smith's historical study of two arguments and Clarke's two-fold path to God. Yet Smith is critical of Thomas' cosmological journey to God and does not share Clarke's confidence in its validity. Significant studies in their own right, the three essays as a group challenge Clarke's whole metaphysics of the universe as a journey. Meeting the challenge, Clarke clarifies and refines his own thought.An account of Clarke's philosophy by Gerald A. McCool, S.J. preceds this unified and stimulating philosophical discussion. (shrink)