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Conspiracy of Life, The

Meditations on Schelling and His Time

Jason M. Wirth

Publication Year: 2003

The Conspiracy of Life offers a series of meditations on the philosophy of F. W. J. Schelling (1775–1854), a great—and greatly neglected—philosopher of life. Rather than construing him as a loopy mystic, or as an antiquated theologian, Jason M. Wirth attempts to locate Schelling as the belated contemporary of thinkers like Heidegger, Derrida, Bataille, Irigaray, Foucault, Deleuze, Levinas, and many others. As such, Schelling is already at the central nerve of current discussions concerning the crisis of truth; the primacy of the Good; the ecstatic nature of time; the nature of art; deep ecology; the world as an aesthetic phenomenon; comparative philosophy; the possibility of non-dialectical philosophy; radical evil; the haunting of philosophy; and the possibility of a philosophical religion.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii

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pp. 1-4

In Alan Loehle’s remarkable painting “Dark Room” (1998),mutton hangs from a meat hook while a large dog, toys at its feet, muscles rippling through its body, hunches over, surveying the territory. At first glance, the painting appears to contrast the vitality of the dog with the once living meat of a sheep. Upon closer examination, this is an unconvincing contrast. Everything in the painting, right...

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1. The Nameless Good

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pp. 5-31

In a striking passage in the Freedom essay, Schelling argued that the human is “formed in the mother’s love” and that “the light of thought first grows out of the darkness of the incomprehensible (out of feeling, Sehnsucht, the sovereign mother of knowledge)” (I/7, 361). In this dark longing, in the paradoxically object-free striving of Sehnsucht, one finds, as the dark, concealed origin of the...

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2. Theos Kai Pan

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pp. 33-64

Right from the beginning, Spinoza was a decisive philosopher for Schelling. This may now sound like yet another dusty little truth in the museums and archives of philosophy, but in Schelling’s day, to embrace Spinoza was to dance with the devil and pantheism was the witches’ brew served at this demonic party....

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3. Nature

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pp. 65-100

The Pantheism Controversy had created a sensation, and in its heat other philosophers emerged either to take sides or to dismiss both participants. The young Pietist, fideist, and friend of Jacobi, Thomas Wizenman, for example, defended Jacobi (through arguments independent of Jacobi) in his Die Resultate der Jacobi’schen und Mendelssohn’schen Philosophie, kritisch untersucht von...

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4. Direct Experience

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pp. 101-129

In speaking of his system of transcendental idealism, Schelling argued that not only would it solve problems that had so far proven insoluble, but that it would also produce entirely new problems (TI, 3/1). It was not enough that certain traditionally vexing questions would be answered, but in so answering them, we would learn that we had more pressing, more fundamental questions...

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5. Art

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pp. 131-153

How can painting having the character of disclosure when it is a creation? Does this not confuse Finden and Erfinden, discovery and creation? Does this not blur the lines between art (supposedly subjective activity) and science (supposedly objective activity)? Is not objectivity perceiving facts as they are and creativity the elaboration of things from a subjective point of view? How...

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6. Evil

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pp. 155-190

Rumor has it that in 1791, while Schelling was a precocious sixteen-year-old student at the Stift, the Swabian despot Duke Karl Eugen accused him of being a clandestine translator of the Marseillaise.6 Indeed, the young Schelling and his comrades were almost drunk on a kind of Dionysian intimation of freedom. The French Revolution and its promise of Republicanism was in the...

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7. The Haunting

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pp. 191-218

When one reads the Freedom essay, with its analogy between sickness and evil, it is sometimes hard not to think of Schelling’s wife, Caroline, who died shortly after the essay appeared. As we saw briefly in the first chapter, Schelling was utterly devastated. In Schelling’s diary for the year 1810, one finds a moving entry written on Schelling’s birthday, “the first without Caroline...

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8. Purusottama

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pp. 219-233

In Mumbai near the Gateway of India, which once welcomed the English to one of the crown jewels of its empire, for a few rupees, a person can catch an old boat that travels into the harbor. The Gateway arch is near one of the grandest historic hotels in India, built in retaliation by the wealthy Parsi J. N. Tata for allegedly being denied entrance into one of Europe’s premier lodgings. Mumbai...


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pp. 235-264


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pp. 265-280


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pp. 281-290

E-ISBN-13: 9780791486603
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791457931
Print-ISBN-10: 0791457931

Page Count: 300
Publication Year: 2003