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Grounding of Positive Philosophy, The

The Berlin Lectures

F. W. J. Schelling, Bruce Matthews

Publication Year: 2007

The Berlin lectures in The Grounding of Positive Philosophy, appearing here for the first time in English, advance Schelling’s final “existential system” as an alternative to modernity’s reduction of philosophy to a purely formal science of reason. The onetime protégé of Fichte and benefactor of Hegel, Schelling accuses German Idealism of dealing “with the world of lived experience just as a surgeon who promises to cure your ailing leg by amputating it.” Schelling’s appeal in Berlin for a positive, existential philosophy found an interested audience in Kierkegaard, Engels, Feuerbach, Marx, and Bakunin. His account of the ecstatic nature of existence and reason proved to be decisive for the work of Paul Tillich and Martin Heidegger. Also, Schelling’s critique of reason’s quixotic attempt at self-grounding anticipates similar criticisms leveled by poststructuralism, but without sacrificing philosophy’s power to provide a positive account of truth and meaning. The Berlin lectures provide fascinating insight into the thought processes of one of the most provocative yet least understood thinkers of nineteenth-century German philosophy.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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CONTENTS

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pp. vii-

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. ix-

Numerous people have been essential in helping see this project through to its completion. The initial support and encouragement of Louis Dupr

EDITORIAL APPARATUS AND STANDARD ABBREVIATIONS

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pp. xi-

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TRANSLATOR’S INTRODUCTION

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pp. 1-84

We would all do well to heed the words of advice Schelling offers his Berlin audience in 1842. As anyone who has ever wrestled with his works can attest, doing justice to the philosophical complexity of this original thinker is a huge challenge. The first and most obvious hurdle in conveying his...

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TRANSLATOR’S NOTE

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pp. 85-87

Over the past few decades, there has been a growing appreciation in the English-speaking world of the robust nature of German philosophy traditionally referred to as German Idealism. As the conventional story goes, this school of thought was initiated by Kant’s Copernican Revolution and brought to its close in Hegel’s ‘absolute idealism’. One of the clearest benefits of the...

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ON PHILOSOPHY

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pp. 91-100

It would seem neither improper nor undesirable if before the exposition of the particular subject of the lecture that I now have the occasion to give, that I put forward a general word about philosophy as such. There is perhaps not one among you who has not come here with some type of idea, or at least a presentiment, of what philosophy is.Here—even the beginner will say—here...

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ON THE ACADEMIC STUDY OF PHILOSOPHY

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pp. 101-111

Before the presentation itself, I would like to put forth a few general remarks about listening to philosophy lectures. There is nothing more common regarding philosophy lectures than to hear complaints about their unintelligibility. When this occurs, a certain injustice is done to some teachers to the extent that the blame is placed on his individual inability to express himself...

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METAPHYSICS BEFORE KANT

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pp. 113-126

Kant himself presupposes the old metaphysics, and his critique relates directly to it. Thus, we too will have to begin with it. It derives from scholasticism, which throughout the entire Middle Ages was, in general, the dominant philosophy. The differences that occurred within scholasticism itself were not essential differences through which its standpoint could have been altered....

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KANT, FICHTE, AND A SCIENCE OF REASON

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pp. 127-139

Fichte was determinative for all subsequent schools of philosophy in two respects. First, he was determinative in the limited form that he gave to the principle—limited insofar as it was expressed only as the I, and indeed as the I of human consciousness. In this limited form, nonetheless, was found the true starting point, according to its matter or essence, for that a priori science that...

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THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE PHILOSOPHY

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pp. 141-154

I have been asked in writing how we arrive at the infinite potency of cognition when there is, however, no such infinite object of which we are aware. Object would hardly be the proper expression to employ in this context—nonetheless we are aware of an immediate content in reason, which of course is not an object, that is, already a being, but is rather only the infinite potency...

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HISTORY OF NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE PHILOSOPHY

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pp. 155-169

The main objection to distinguishing between a negative and a positive philosophy is, no doubt, that philosophy must be of one piece, that there cannot be two different kinds of philosophy. Before one can make this objection, however, one must first know whether the negative and positive are in fact two different philosophies, or whether perhaps they are only two sides of the same...

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METAPHYSICAL EMPIRICISM

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pp. 171-191

The lowest level of empiricism is one in which all knowledge is limited to experience through the senses, in which everything supersensible is either denied as such or as a possible object of knowledge. If one accepts philosophical empiricism in this sense, then it does not even share positive philosophy’s...

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THE GROUNDING OF POSITIVE PHILOSOPHY

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pp. 193-212

Will we, however, allow this antithesis of two philosophies to stand? You remember that we have only for the moment assumed but not conceded the conclusion in this form. Here is now the place to decide. But in order to decide we must return to a standpoint that lies beyond this antithesis and is, thus, still completely free of it; this standpoint can be no other than precisely that of philosophy...

NOTES

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pp. 213-225

INDEX

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pp. 227-229


E-ISBN-13: 9780791479940
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791471296
Print-ISBN-10: 0791471292

Page Count: 242
Publication Year: 2007

Series Title: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Series Editor Byline: Dennis J. Schmidt