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The critique from Romanticism: Schelling

The critique from Romanticism: Schelling

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The critique from Romanticism: Schelling

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  1. The critique from Romanticism: Schelling ES3409. Week 4

  2. Introduction • Friedrich Schelling (1775-1854) went through many phases in his extraordinary sixty year philosophical career. We will look only at one short period, his earliest, and his writing of the 1790’s. • Romantics postulated poetic affinity between nature and the human. • According to Schelling, who achieved the quintessential expression of the Romantic view of the natural world, nature is a manifestation of a creative power that is in a continuous process of evolution towards higher and higher forms of consciousness. This creative impulse, which Schelling describes as an “unconscious intelligence” in matter, finds its purest expression in the human self: the world fulfils itself by coming to self-consciousness through us. (Mathews, 2003, p.172)

  3. Dogmatism • In the Kantian sense of dogmatism employed by Schelling, the dogmatist believes it is right to start with the thing, as a given thing, without critical enquiry into the provenance or logic of its authority. • The ‘it’ can only ever be conditional – if this is real, then all else follows. • In contrast, criticism, in Kant’s sense, begins with ‘I’, and discovers that agency has the form of self-certainty, the unconditional guarantee that ‘I’ am ‘I’.

  4. Dogmatism • “[D]ogmatism, if consistent, is bent not upon contest but upon surrender, not upon enforced but upon voluntary annihilation, upon quiet abandonment of oneself to the absolute object.” (Schelling, 1980, p.157) • In “abandoning himself to the youthful world” the dogmatist quenches “his thirst for life and existence as such. To be, to be! Is the cry that resounds within him; he would rather fall into the arms of the world than into the arms of death.” (Ibid.)

  5. Dogmatism • Insofar as consciousness exists at all in this early Schelling, it does so as an abandonment of itself. “The farther the world is from me, the more I put between it and myself, the more my intuition of it becomes restricted and the less possible is that abandonment to the world, that mutual approach, that reciprocal yielding in contest”. (Ibid.) • This becoming the world can and does inform an Dietzgenist Marxism prefigured in the early pre-Marxist Marx • Marx’s poetry

  6. Dogmatism • Just as the proletariat are to become the state and in so doing abolish both it and themselves, humanity in the Romantic vision of the young Schelling must become the world, and in so doing abandon the old dualisms which divide man and nature. • Reason is weak that does not allow one to admit of an absolute objectivity, but rather only an idea of the objective world. “A breath of dogmatism would overthrow … [this] house of cards.” (Schelling, 1980, p.161)

  7. Dogmatism • It can only be in activity, movement in a sense prior to thought that the prolepsis of ‘blind dogmatism’ becomes the materially grounded dogmatism of the internally related dialectic of freedom and inheritance. • Schelling is concerned to unite subject and object, mind and matter not, as Ilyenkov puts it, “on the plane of logically consistent constructing of determinations but in the practical realisation of the system that presented itself to the human mind as most worthy of it… most in accord with its innate strivings.” (Ilyenvov, 1977, p.135) Such a system must be open ended whilst self-referential.

  8. Dogmatism • Nature as the basis of action: “We feel freer in our spirit if we now return from the state of speculation to the enjoyment and exploration of nature.” (Schelling, 1980, p.195) • Henceforth, the wise man will never have recourse to mysteries wherein to hide principles which are universally communicable. But nature herself has set bounds to this communicability. For the worthy she has reserved a philosophy that becomes esoteric by itself because it cannot be learned, recited like a litany, feigned nor contained in dead words which secret enemies or spies might pick up. This philosophy is a symbol for the unity of free spirits, a symbol by which they all recognize each other, and one that they need not hide, since for them alone it is intelligible, whereas for others it will be an eternal riddle. (Schelling, 1980,p.196)