The speculative rupture of the later Schelling and Kierkegaard God discontinuity and the priority of existence over essence

The revolt against Hegel in the nineteenth century was deeply indebted to the later Schelling's critique of Hegel. Though Hegel is not usually thought of as a 'Romantic', especially not in Germany, he may be considered as the root of certain anti-Idealistic tendencies or movements in the later part ofthe period.

Schelling has been called the 'Prince of Romantics' and there is a sense in which this apparently protean philosopher focused upon two themes and obsessions throughout his life which are characteristically Romantic: myth and nature. Schelling consistently reflected on inscrutable or given aspects of these phenomena, regarding them as 'unprethinkable'. From his early development of a philosophy of nature (Naturphilosophie) up to his late Philosophy of mythology, Schelling was trying to develop a system of Idealism which was able to incorporate these elements that other Idealistic systems would relegate or redescribe. Schellingwas concerned that authentic philosophy should describe the reality of existence, as distinct from negative philosophy which is concerned merely with the abstract idea of reality. But he insisted that there can be no deduction of the that (quod or Das) of real experience of existence from the merely abstract and sterile what (quid or Was) of conceptual essence. Negative philosophy can attain knowledge of formal essences (mere logic), but needs completion in a positive philosophy centred around the idea of God as the 'The Lord of Being' (Herrdes Seins). This aspect of Schelling led Heidegger and Tillich to regard him as the founder of existentialism.

There is much in Schelling which points to Kierkegaard, especially in the polemic against Hegelianism which starts with On human freedom (1809), expressed vividly in the contrast between 'logical' and 'historical' philosophies in the Munich lectures of 1832-3, and his late move to Berlin was heralded as a riposte to the 'dragon's teeth' of Hegelian 'pantheism'. The geography and culture of Munich is perhaps a key. The early Schelling was caught up in the widespread enthusiasm for the French Revolution and Napoleon. Just as Friedrich Schlegel's move to Vienna and conversion to Catholicism marked a shift in his intellectual sympathies, so Schelling's long period in Munich and proximity to Jacobi and van Baader marked a move from the earlier

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