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Schelling's Organic Form of Philosophy

Life as the Schema of Freedom

Bruce Matthews

Publication Year: 2011

Locates in Schelling a new understanding of our relation to nature in philosophy. The life and ideas of F.W.J. Schelling are often overlooked in favor of the more familiar Kant, Fichte, or Hegel. What these three lack, however, is Schelling’s evolving view of philosophy. Where others saw the possibility for a single, unflinching system of thought, Schelling was unafraid to question the foundations of his own ideas. In this book, Bruce Matthews argues that the organic view of philosophy is the fundamental idea behind Schelling’s thought. Focusing in particular on Schelling’s early writings, especially on Plato and Kant, Matthews explores Schelling’s idea that any philosophical system must be perspectival and formed by each individual student of philosophy, providing a unique new understanding to an important and often overlooked figure in the history of philosophy.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii-x

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pp. xi-xiv

In writing this book, I hope to contribute to the growing effort to decipher one of the most complex and enigmatic thinkers of German Idealism, F. W. J. Schelling. Like the wines of a challenging domain in Bordeaux, the life and ideas of this philosopher have been often overlooked as we reach for the now widely available and thus familiar vintages of a Kant, Fichte, ...

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pp. xv-xvi

This book would never have appeared if it were not for the support and guidance of Manfred Frank. He has time and again demonstrated an uncompromising commitment to the principles of friendship and the discipline of philosophy. His learning inspires both respect and a certain wistfulness, in that our current culture no longer values the symphonic ...

Notes on Sources and Abbreviations

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pp. xvii-xviii

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1: Life as the Schema of Freedom: Schelling’s Organic Form of Philosophy

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pp. 1-38

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the German philosopher F. W. J. Schelling. One major reason for this renewed attention lies in the symphonic power of this thinker’s work, the expanse and complexity of which provides a robust alternative to the anemic theorizing one encounters in contemporary academic philosophy. Too ...

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2: Beginnings: Theosophy and Nature Divine

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pp. 39-68

We begin at ground zero. To engage in an immanent reconstruction of the inner dynamic of Schelling’s philosophy we must first attempt to bring to light the background from whence his ideas emerged. This exercise will prove all the more worthwhile since in this chapter we survey a cast of figures whose passions and beliefs do much to solve ...

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3: The Question of Systematic Unity

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pp. 69-102

The problematic quest for a common ground to Kant’s system runs parallel to all three critiques. Within the framework of the first and second Critiques, it appeared as if the absolute causality of freedom would provide the necessary capstone required to transform his “aggregate” of faculties and elements into a...

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4: The Timaeus Commentary

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pp. 103-136

The subject matter we now turn to is contained within two notebooks Schelling compiled during his first two years as a student at the T

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5: On the Possibility of a Form of All Philosophy: The Form Essay

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pp. 137-176

Schelling’s first philosophical publication, On the Possibility of a Form of Philosophy in General, is traditionally read as the youthful work of a follower of Fichte.2 At first glance, such a reading appears to be justified. He does make ample use of some of Fichte’s central ideas, most notably the absolute positing...

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6: Freedom and the Construction of Philosophy

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pp. 177-222

We have argued that the Form Essay presents Schelling’s synthesis of Plato’s triad of divine causes and Kant’s dynamic categories, articulated through Fichte’s formula ‘I=I’, understood as a statement of disjunctive identity. The goal of this strategy is to advance an organic form of unity that will overcome the debilitating dualities established by the regressive methodologies of reflective...


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pp. 223-224


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pp. 225-276


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pp. 277-282

E-ISBN-13: 9781438434124
E-ISBN-10: 143843412X
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438434117
Print-ISBN-10: 1438434111

Page Count: 300
Publication Year: 2011

Edition: 1