In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

352 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 33:2 APRIL t99 5 the earlier Schelling had located in art; the later Schelling finds it in the earliest and yet most persistent art form: the myth (214). A myth is nothing less than a map of the great territory that cannot be grasped by reason, the realm of contingency and fallenness. Here Wilson's style of frequent, sometimes quite lengthy quotation is most fitting, since heaven (and hell) is in the details of Schelling's ambitious attempt to reveal the lineaments of mythological development by tracing the history and interrelationships of the mythologies of Egypt, Greece, India, and China. The third and last section ("European Nihilism") elaborates upon what Wilson calls the "Schellingian rule that philosophy no sooner comes to understanding than it falls into nihilism" (23o) . Since philosophy always culminates in its own breakdown, it has thus far been insufficient to grasp history--history cannot merely be conceptually recapitulated, it must in some sense be relived. Perhaps Schelling intends the philosophy of mythology to bridge this gap; certainly his criticism of Hegel's negative philosophy of abstract concepts would seem to prepare the ground for such a suggestion. Yet Wilson's treatment of the details of the various mythologies is so narrowly focused that it never quite becomes explicit what the philosophy of mythology as a whole is intended to accomplish. Finally, Schelling's claim that each people has an essence, and that the German essence is not by nature nihilistic, is intriguing, and leads Wilson to explain his task as the elucidation of the German nature by means of its mythology in order to relate it to European nihilism. But then he announces that there is no explicit discussion of this theme in the philosophy of mythology, and therefore he must rely upon "significant, but widely dispersed bits and pieces which one must bring together" (234). This beachcomber method may account for at least some of the difficulty of following the subsequent discussion, or of understanding why Schelling held nihilism to be the spiritual ailment of his time. There is a great deal to be said for making the attempt to enter into an author's world on the terms he has recommended, and Wilson has made a careful and conscientious survey of the later writings. However, in penetrating so deeply into their spirit, Wilson has left too few clues for those not similarly dedicated to have an easy time following him. This may be, as he suggests, inherent in the subject matter. At the very least it leaves much to be done by others interested in the later Schelling and the future of philosophy. DALE SNOW Loyola Collegein Maryland Tom Rockmore. Before and after Hegel:A HistoricalIntroduction toHegel's Thought. Berkeley : University of California Press, 1993. Pp. xi + 211. Cloth, $38.oo. Paper, $14.oo. The aim of this little book is "to make Hegel's theory accessible to those who are not professionally engaged in philosophy"; it is intended "for students in philosophy and allied disciplines who require a way into the theory of one of the most important BOOK REVIEWS 353 thinkers in the philosophical tradition" (ix-x). Anyone who has ever tried to teach Hegel to undergraduates will recognize both the need for such a book on Hegel and the difficulty of actually satisfying this need. First, there is the question of how to go about introducing beginners to Hegel. Should one try to make Hegel accessible by relating him to certain contemporary issues or authors? Should one concentrate on a systematic presentation of the Hcgelian system and its distinctive theoretical claims (the "arguments of the philosophers" approach )? Should one adopt a piecemeal strategy of emphasizing only those aspects of Hegel's thought that appear to be still "living"? Rockmore wisely rejects all of these approaches and opts instead for a broadly historical strategy. Noting Hegel's "acute awareness of prior views and his effort to take up in his own theory all that is of value in the preceding discussion," he concludes that "it is indispensable to understand Hegel's theory as a reaction to earlier and contemporary theories" (41). An adequate historical introduction...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 352-354
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.