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

Kant's Metaphysics of Nature and Schelling's Ideasfor a Philosophy of Nature GEORGE DI GIOVANNI Ix IS wRosc TO LOOt AT Ideas for a Philosophy of Nature (1797) as a work in which Schelling reiterated the main tenets of Fichte's Wissenschaftslehre, adding to them only some obscure and highly dubious theory about the composition of matter. ' The Schelling of Ideas certainly thought of himself as inspired by Fichte." The philosophical position he sketched, however, was already far removed from anything his mentor would have been willing to avow as his own. In this paper I claim that the problem Schelling is grappling with in Ideas, and the solution he proposes for it, are best understood by confronting them directly with the thought of Kant--especially with Kant's reflections on the possibility of a transition from the transcendental principles of experience in general to the particular principles of a science of nature. Adickes has already called attention to the continuity between Kant's metaphysics of nature and Schelling's romantic theories.' However, since Adickes considered Kant's attempts to ground a priori the principles of a natural science as residues from his precritical past, he thought that in exploiting the themes Kant had adumbrated in his metaphysics of nature, Schelling was reverting to a mode of dogmatic l The fulltitle of the work is Ideen zu einer Philosophie der Naturals Einleitung in das Studium dieser Wi~nschaft. I shall cite from the text of Friedrich W. J. yon Schelling'sSdmmtliche Werke, ed. K. F. A. yon Schelling,14vols. (Stuttgart and Augsburg, 1856-61),sec. I, vol. 2, pp. 1-343.Arturo Massolo holds that Ideas is an essentially "Fichtean" work whileconcedingthat Schellinghad already shownmarked differencesfrom Fichte in writings that immediately preceded or accompanied its production (I1 Primo Schelling [Firenze:G. C. Sansoni, 1953],pp. 35-36, 40-42). XavierTillietteinterprets Ideas as an attempt by Schellingto introduce empirical material in a framework of thought that remains essentially "transcendental " (see Schelling: Une philosophic en devenir, 2 vols. [Paris: J. Vrin, 1970],1:129-30, 132-33, 145). In a somewhat similar vein, Jean-Frant;ois Marquet describes Ideas as "an awkward transposition " of Fichte's Grundri~ des Eigenthumlichen der Wissenschaftslehre (1975). He argues that Ideas is the result of two quite disparate factors, viz., the influenceof the transcendental thought of Kant and Fichte,and Schelling'sown interest in empiricalscience(Libert~et existence: l~tudesur laformation de la philosophic de Schelling [Paris: Gallimard, 1973],pp. 113-14,l15ff.).It is interestingto note that Manfred SchrOter, in his 1927reproduction of the Cotta edition of Schelling's works, includes only the introduction of Ideas in the sixmainvolumesof the edition and relegatesthe body of the work to the Ergdnzungsbdnde that contain "die weniger wichtigen Schriften" (Schellings Werke, Nach der Originalausgabe in neuer Anordnung, 8 vols. [Munich, 1927;reprinted 1965], l:viii). 2In a footnote to Ideas, Schellingacknowledgeshis indebtednessto Fichte without mentioning him by name (13.221, n. 1; Schellingrefers to Fichte as the "second creator" of Kant's philosophy). JErichAdickes,Kant als Naturforscher, 2 vols. (Berlin:Walterde Gruyter, 1925-25),1:57-59. Seealso Arthur Drews, Kants Naturphiiosophie als Grundlage seines Systems (Berlin, 1894),pp. 493-95. [197] 198 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY thinking that the more critical aspects of Kant had rendered outmoded. ~ In my paper, on the contrary, I argue that Kant had been driven to his search for a transition from transcendental to particular principles of experience because of a problem that arose directly out of his critical premises. The Schelling of Ideas was keenly aware of such a problem. And in pursuing his own theory of nature, he was exploiting and developing a line of thought essentially connected with Kant's critical enterprise. I. One of the many factors in the development of post-Kantian idealism was the desire to meet the skepticism that was the natural consequence of Kant's own critical idealism. Being accused of fomenting skepticism might have well appeared unjust to the older Kant, for his own motive in establishing metaphysics on a critical basis had been to counter the skepticism to which scholastic rationalism had led. But the charge was not unfounded. It should be noted...


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.