1902 Encyclopedia > Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling

Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling
German philosopher
(1775-1854)




FRIEDRICH WILHELM JOSEPH VON SCHELLING, (1775-1854), a distinguished German philosopher, was born on 27th January 1775 at Leonberg, a small town of Wurtemberg, otherwise notable as scene of the early years of Kepler's life. Through both parents he was connected with families of distinction in the Protestant church community. His father, a solidly trained scholar of Oriental languages, was called in 1777 as chaplain and professor to the cloister school of Bebenhausen, near Tübingen, a pre-paratory seminary for intending students of theology at Tübingen. Here Schelling received his earliest education and gave the first evidences of what afterwards so eminently distinguished him, remarkable precocity and quickness of intellect. From the Latin school at Nürtin-gen, whither he had been sent in his tenth year, he was returned in two years as having already acquired all the school could give him, and his father with regret was compelled to allow him at so abnormally young an age to study with the seminarists at Bebenhausen. In 1790, with special permission, for he was yet three years under the prescribed age, Schelling entered the theological seminary at Tübingen, where he had as fellow students, contemporary as scholars though elder in years, Hegel and Hölderlin. The character and direction of his studies may be gathered sufficiently from the titles of the essays which for various purposes were accomplished during the five years of his student career. In 1792 he graduated in the philosophical faculty with a thesis Antiquissimi de prima malorum humane-rum origine philosophematis explicandi tentamen criticum et philosophicum ; in 1793 he contributed to Paulus's Memorabilien a paper lieber Mythus, historische Sagen, und Philosopheme der ältesten Welt ; and in 1795 his thesis for his theological degree was De Marcione Paullinarum epistolarum emendatore. The in-fluence of these early studies over his later literary career has been often exaggerated, but doubtless they contributed to strengthen his natural tendency to dwell rather on the large historico-speculative problems than on the difficulties of abstract thinking. Before the date of his last essay noted above, a new and much more important influence had begun to operate on him. In conjunction with some of his fellow-students he was in 1793 studying the Kantian system. The difficulties or imperfections of that system he claims soon to have perceived, and no doubt the per-ception was quickened by acquaintance with the first of those writings in which Fichte put forward his amended form of the critical philosophy. The " Review of iEneside-mus " and the tractate On the Notion of Wissenschaftslehre found in Schelling's mind most fruitful soil. With characteristic zeal and impetuosity Schelling had no sooner grasped the leading ideas of Fichte's new mode of treating philosophy than he threw together the thoughts suggested to him in the form of an essay, which appeared, under the title lieber die Möglichheit einer Form der Philo-sophie überhaupt, towards the end of 1794. There was nothing original in the treatment, but it showed such power of appreciating the new ideas of the Fichtean method that it was hailed with cordial recognition by Fichte himself, and gave the author immediately a place in popular estimation as in the foremost rank of existing philosophical writers. The essay was followed up in 1795 by a more elaborate writing, Tom Ich als Princip der Philosophie, oder über das Unbedingte im menschlichen Wissen, which, still remaining within the limits of the Fichtean idealism, yet exhibits unmistakable traces of a tendency to give the Fichtean method a more objective application, and to amalgamate with it Spinoza's more realistic view of things.

The reputation so quickly gained led soon to its natural result. In midsummer 1798 Schelling was called as extraordinary professor of philosophy to Jena, and thus stejiped into the most active literary and philosophical circle of the time. The intervening period had not been unfruitful. While discharging for two years at Leipsic the duties of companion or tutorial guardian to two youths of noble family, Schelling had contributed various articles and reviews to Fichte and Niethammer's Journal, and had thrown himself with all his native impetuosity into the study of physical and medical science. From 1796 date the Briefe über Dogmatismus und Kriticismus, an admirably written critique of the ultimate issues of the Kantian system, which will still repay study ; from 1797 the essay entitled Neue Deduction des Naturrechts, which to some extent anticipated Fichte's treatment in the Grundlage des Naturrechts, published in 1796, but not before Schelling's essay had been received by the editors of the Journal. The reviews of current philosophical literature were afterwards collected, and with needful omissions and corrections appeared under the title "Ab-handlungen zur Erläuterung des Idealismus der Wissenschaftslehre " in Schelling's Philos. Schriften, vol. i., 1809. The studies of physical science bore rapid fruit in the Ideen zu einer Philosophie der Natur, 1797, and the treatise Von der Weltseele, 1798, the drift of which will be noted later.

Schelling's professoriate in Jena lasted till the early part of 1803. His lectures were extraordinarily attrac-tive ; his productive powers were at their best; and the circumstances of his surroundings developed forcibly the good and evil qualities of his character. Of his writings during this period a merely chronological notice will meanwhile suffice. In 1799 appeared the Erster Entwurf eines Systems der Naturphilosophie, with an independent and sub-sequent Einleitung; in 1800 the System des transcenden-talen Idealismus, in form one of the most finished, in substance one of the most satisfactory of his works; in the same year, in the Zeitschrift für spekulative Physik, edited by him, "Allgemeine Deduction des dynamischen Processes and in 1801 the Darstellung meines Systems der Philosophie; in 1802, in the Neue Zeitschr.für spek. Physik, the " Fernere Darstellungen aus dem System der Philo-sophie"; also in 1802 the dialogue Bruno and the excellently written Vorlesungen über die Methode des akademischen Studiums. In conjunction with Hegel, who in 1801 at Schelling's invitation had come to Jena, he edited the Kritisches Journal für Philosophie, the greater part of which was written by Hegel. Regarding the authorship of certain articles in the volume and a half of this Journal a discussion of no great significance has arisen, concerning which perhaps the best statement is that by Schelling's son in the preface to vol. v. of the Sämmtliche Werke, Abth. i.

The philosophical renown of Jena reached its culminat-ing point during the years of Schelling's residence there, in no small measure through the imposing force of his character and teaching. Recognized as of the first rank among living thinkers he was received with every mark of distinction, and his intellectual sympathies soon united him closely with some of the most active literary tenden-cies of the time. With Goethe, who viewed with interest and appreciation the poetical fashion of treating fact characteristic of the Naturphilosophie, he continued on excellent terms, while on the other hand he was repelled by Schiller's less expansive disposition, and failed alto-gether to understand the lofty ethical idealism that animated his work. By the representatives of tbe Romantic school, then in the height of their fervour and beginning their downward course, he was hailed as a most potent ally, and quickly became par excellence the philo-sopher of the Romantic type. The Schlegels and their friends, who had found at least one fundamental prin-ciple of Romantic strain in Fichte, had begun to be dis-satisfied with the cold and abstract fashion of viewing nature that seemed necessarily to follow from the notion of the Wissenschaftslehre, and at the same time the deep-seated antagonism of character between Fichte and the impetuous litterateurs of the Romantic school was begin-ning to be felt. In Schelling, essentially a self-conscious genius, eager and rash, yet with undeniable power, they hailed a personality of the true Romantic type, and in his philosophy a mode of conceiving nature adequate to the needs of poetic treatment. During the Jena period the closest union obtained between Schelling and those who either at Jena or at Berlin carried on warfare for the Romantic idea. With August Wilhelm Schlegel and his gifted wife Caroline, herself the embodiment of the Romantic spirit, Schelling's relations were of the most intimate kind. Personal acquaintance made at Dresden before Schelling began his professorial career at Jena rapidly developed into a warm friendship, to which circum-stances soon gave a new and heightened colour. Caroline Schlegel, a woman of remarkable receptive and appreciative power, emotional to excess, and full of the ardent ill-balanced sympathies that constituted the Romantic tone, felt for Schelling unbounded admiration. In him she found the philosophic view which gave completeness and consistency to the tumultuous literary and personal feel-ings that animated her, and she was not less attracted by the dominating force of his personal character. It is pro-bable that in the early stages of their friendship a future marriage between Schelling and Caroline's young daughter, Auguste Böhmer, was, if not definitely understood, yet vaguely contemplated by both, and that in consequence neither was fully aware of the nature of the feelings springing up between them. The untimely death of Auguste in the summer of 1800, a death in which Schel-ling's rash confidence in his medical knowledge was unfortunately involved, while a severe blow to both, drew them much more closely together, and in the following year, A. W. Schlegel having removed to Berlin, and Caroline remaining in Jena, affairs so developed themselves that quietly, amicably, and in apparently the most friendly manner, a divorce was arranged and carried to its comple-tion in the early summer of 1803. On the 2d June of the same year Schelling and Caroline, after a visit to the former's father, were married, and with the marriage Schelling's life at Jena came to an end. It was full time, for Schelling's undoubtedly overweening self-confidence and most arrogant mode of criticism had involved him in a series of virulent disputes and quarrels at Jena, the details of which are in themselves of little or no interest, but are valuable as illustrations of the evil qualities in Schelling's nature which deface much of his philosophic work. The boiling fervour which the Romanticists prized is deplorably ineffective in the clear cold atmosphere of speculation.





A fresh field was found in the newly-constituted uni-versity of Würzburg, to which he was called in September 1803 as professor of "Naturphilosophie," and where he remained till April 1806, when the Napoleonic conquests compelled a change. The published writings of this period (Philosophie und Religion, 1804, and Ueber das Ver-hältniss des Realen und Idealen in der Natur, 1806), and still more the unpublished draft of his lectures as con-tinued in volumes v. and vi. of the Sämmtliche Werke, exhibit an important internal change in his philosophic views, a change which was accentuated by the open breach on the one hand with Fichte and on the other hand with Hegel. Schelling's little pamphlet Darlegung des wahren Verhältnisses der Naturphilosophie zur verbesserten Ficht-ischen Lehre was the natural sequel to the difference which had brought the correspondence of the former friends to a close in 1803, and to Fichte's open condemnation in the Grundzüge d. gegenwärt. Zeitalters. Hegel's preface to the Phänomenologie des Geistes was in like manner the sequel to the severe treatment which in his Jena lectures he had bestowed on the emptiness of the Schellingian method, and with the appearance of that work correspond-ence and friendship between the two ceased, and in Schelling's mind there remained a deeply rooted sense of injury and injustice.

The Würzburg professoriate had not been without its inner trials. Schelling had many enemies, and his irre-concilable and lofty tone of dealing with them only increased the virulence of their attacks. He embroiled himself with his colleagues and with the Government, so that it was doubtless with a sense of relief that he found external events bring his tenure of the chair to a close. In Munich, to which with his wife he removed in 1806, he found a long and quiet residence. A position as state official, at first as associate of the academy of sciences and secretary of the academy of arts, afterwards as secretary of the philosophical section of the academy of sciences, gave him ease and leisure. Without resigning his official position he lectured for a short time at Stutt-gart, and during seven years at Erlangen (1820-27). In 1809 Caroline died, and three years later Schelling married one of her closest, most attached friends, Pauline Gotter, in whom he found a true and faithful companion.

During the long stay at Munich (1806-1841) Schel-ling's literary activity seemed gradually to come to a standstill. The " Aphorisms on Naturphilosophie " con-tained in the Jahrbücher der Medicin als Wissenschaft (1806-8) are for the most part extracts from the Würzburg lectures; and the Denkmal der Schrift von den göttlichen Dingen des Herrn Jacobi was drawn forth by the special incident of Jacobi's work. The only writing of significance is the " Philosophische Untersuchungen über das Wesen der menschlichen Freiheit," which appeared in the Philosophische Schriften, vol. i. (1809), and which carries out, with increasing tendency to mysticism, the thoughts of the previous work, Philosophie und Religion. In 1815 appeared the tract Ueber die Gottheiten zu Samo-thrake, ostensibly a portion of the great work, Die Weltalter, on,which Schelling was understood to be engaged, a work frequently announced as ready for publication, but of which no great part was ever written. Probably it was the overpowering strength and influence of the Hegelian system that constrained Schelling to so long a silence, for it was only in 1834, after the death of Hegel, that, in a preface to a translation by H. Beckers of a work by Cousin, he gave public utterance to the antagonism in which he stood to the Hegelian and to his own earlier conceptions of philosophy. The antagonism certainly was not then a new fact; the Erlangen lectures on the history of philosophy (Sämmt. Werke, x. 124-5) of 1822 express the same in a pointed fashion, and Schelling had already begun the treatment of mythology and religion which in his view constituted the true positive complement to the negative of logical or speculative philosophy. Public attention, which had been from time to time drawn to Schelling's prolonged silence, was powerfully attracted by these vague hints of a new system which promised something more positive, as regards religion in particular, than the apparent results of Hegel's teaching. For the appearance of the critical writings of Strauss, Feuerbach, and Bauer, and the evident disunion in the Hegelian school itself, had alienated the sympathies of many from the then dominant philosophy. In Berlin particularly, the headquarters of the Hegelians, the desire found expression to obtain officially from Schelling a treatment of the new system which he was understood to have in reserve. The realiza-tion of the desire did not come about till 1841, when the appointment of Schelling as Prussian privy councillor and member of the Berlin Academy, gave him the right, a right he was requested to exercise, to deliver lectures in the university. The opening lecture of his course was J listened to by a large and most appreciative audience;

and thus, in the evening of his career, Schelling found j himself, as often before, the centre of attraction in the world of philosophy. The enmity of his old foe H. E. G. j Paulus, sharpened by Schelling's apparent success, led to the surreptitious publication of a verbatim report of the i lectures on the philosophy of revelation, and, as Schelling ', did not succeed in obtaining legal condemnation and sup-j pression of this piracy, he in 1845 ceased the delivery of any public courses. No authentic information as to the nature of the new positive philosophy was obtained till after his death in 1854, when his sons began the issue of his collected writings with the four volumes of Berlin i lectures :—vol. L, Introduction to the Philosophy of Mytho-I logy (1856); ii., Philosophy of Mythology (1857); iii. anc iv., Philosophy of Revelation (1858).

Whatever judgment one may form of the total worth of Schelliug as a philosopher, his place in the history of that important move-ment called generally German philosophy is unmistakable and assured. It happened to him, as he himself claimed, to turn a page in the history of thought, and one cannot ignore the actual advance upon his predecessor achieved by him or the brilliant fertility of the genius by which that achievement was accomplished. On the other hand it is not tobe denied that Schelling, to whom an unusually long period of activity was accorded, nowhere succeeds in attaining the rounded completeness of scientific system. His philosophical writings, extended over more than half a century, lie before us, not as parts of one whole, but as the successive mani-festations of a restless highly endowed spirit, striving continuously but unsuccessfully after a solution of its own problems. Such unity as they possess is a unity of tendency and endeavour ; they are not parts of a whole, and in some respects the final form they assumed is the least satisfactory of all. Hence it has come about that Schelling remains for the philosophic student but a moment _of historical value in the development of thought, and that his works have for the most part ceased now to have more than historic interest. Throughout his thinking bears the painful impress of hurry, incompleteness, and spasmodic striving after an ideal which could only be attained by patient, laborious, and methodic effort. Brilliant contributions there are without doubt to the evolution of a philosophic idea, but no systematic fusion of all into a whole. It is not unfair to connect the apparent failings of Schelling's philosophizing with the very nature of the thinker and with the historical accidents of his career. In the writ-ings of his early manhood, for example, more particularly those making up Naturphilosophie, one finds in painful abundance the evidences of hastily-acquired knowledge, impatience of the hard labour of minute thought, over-confidence in the force of individual genius, and desire instantaneously to present even in crudest fashion the newest idea that has dawned upon the thinker. Schelling was prematurely thrust into the position of a foremost productive thinker; and when the lengthened period of quiet meditation was at last forced upon him there unfortunately lay before him a system which achieved what had dimly been involved in his ardent and impetuous desires. It is not possible to acquit Schelling of a certain disingenuousness in regard to the Hegelian philosophy ; and if we claim for him perfect disinterestedness of view we can do so only by imposing on him the severer condem-nation of deficient insight.





It was a natural concomitant of this continuous hurry under which Schelling's successive efforts at constructive work were carried out that he should have been found at all stages supporting himself by calling to his aid the forms of some other system. The successive phases of his development might without injustice be characterized by reference to these external supports. Thus Fichte, Spinoza, Jakob Boehme and the Mystics, and finally, the great Greek thinkers with their Neoplatonic, Gnostic, and Scholastic commen-tators, give respectively colouring to particular works in which Schelling unfolds himself. At the same time it would be unjust to represent Schelling as merely borrowing from these external sources. There must be allowed to him genuine philosophic spirit and no small measure of philosophic insight. Of the philosophic afflatus he was in no want; and it might be fairly added that, under all the differences of exposition which seem to constitute so many differing Schellingian systems, there is one and the same philo-sophic effort and spirit. But what Schelling did want was power to work out scientifically, methodically, the ideas with which his spirit was filled and mastered. Hence he could only find expression for himself in forms of this or that earlier philosophy, and hence too the frequent formlessness of his own thought, the tendency to relapse into mere impatient despair of ever finding an adequate vehicle for transmitting thought.

It is thus, moreover, a matter of indifference how one distributes or classifies the several forms and periods of Schelling's philosophic activity. Whether one adopts as basis the external form, i.e., the foreign mode of speculation laid under contribution, or endeavours to adhere closely to inner differences of view, the result is very much the same. There is one line of speculative thought, in the development of which inevitable problems call for new methods of handling, while the results only in part can claim to have a place accorded to them in the history of philosophy. It is fair in dealing with Schelling's development to take into account the indications of his own opinion regarding its more significant momenta. In his own view the turning points seem to have been —(1) the transition from Fiehte's method to the more objective .conception of nature,—the advance, in other words, to Natur-philosophie ; (2) the definite formulation of that which implicitly, as Schelling claims, was involved in the idea of Naturphilosophie, viz., the thought of the identical, indifferent, absolute substratum of both nature and spirit, the advance to Identitdtsvhilosophie ; (3) the opposition of negative and positive philosophy, an opposi-tion which is the theme of the Berlin lectures, but the germs of whieh may be traced back to 1804, and of which more than the germs are found in the work on freedom of 1809. Only what falls under the first and second of the divisions so indicated can be said to have discharged a function in developing philosophy ; only .so much constitutes Schelling's philosophy proper. A very brief -notice of the characteristic features of the three studia must here ^suffice.

(1) Naturphilosophie.—The Fichtean method had striven to -exhibit the whole structure of reality as the necessary implication of self-consciousness. The fundamental features of knowledge, whether as activity or as sum of apprehended fact, and of conduct had been deduced as elements necessary in the attainment of self-consciousness. Fichtean idealism therefore at once stood out negatively, as abolishing the dogmatic conception of the two real worlds, subject and object, by whose interaction cognition and practice arise, and as amending the critical idea which retained with dangerous caution too many fragments of dogmatism ; positively, as insisting on the unity of philosophical interpretation and as supplying a key to the form or method by which a completed philosophic system might be constructed. But the Fichtean teach-ing appeared on the one hand to identify too closely the ultimate ground of the universe of rational conception with the finite, indi-vidual spirit, and on the other hand to endanger the reality of the world of nature by regarding it too much after the fashion of sub-jective idealism, as mere moment, though necessitated, in the existence of the finite thinking mind. It was almost a natural consequence that Fichte never succeeded in amalgamating with his own system the aesthetic view of nature to which the Kritik of Judgment had pointed as an essential component in any complete philosophy.

From Fichte's position Schelling started. From Fichte he derived the ideal of a completed whole of philosophic conception ; from Fichte he derived the formal method to which for the most part he continued true. The earliest writings tended gradually towards the first important advance. Nature must not be con-ceived as merely abstract limit to the infinite striving of spirit, as a mere series of necessary thoughts for mind. It must be that and more than that. It must have reality for itself, a reality which stands in no conflict with its ideal character, a reality the inner structure of which is ideal, a reality the root and spring of which is spirit. Nature as the sum of that which is objective, intelligence as the complex of all the activities making up self-consciousness, appear thus as equally real, as alike exhibiting ideal structure, as parallel with one another. The philosophy of nature and transcendental philosophy are the two complementary portions of philosophy as a whole.

Animated with this new conception Schelling made his hurried rush to Naturphilosophie, and with the aid of Kant and of frag-mentary knowledge of contemporary scientific movements, threw off in quick succession the Jdeen, the Weltseele, and the Erster Entwurf. Naturphilosophie, which thus became an historical fact, has had scant merey at the hands of modern science ; and un-doubtedly there is much in it, even in that for which Schelling alone is responsible, for which only contempt can be our feeling. Schelling, one must say, had neither the strength of thinking nor the acquired knowledge necessary to hold the balance between the abstract treatment of cosmological notions and the concrete researches of special science. His efforts after a construction of natural reality are bad in themselves and gave rise to a wearisome flood of perfectly useless physical speculation. Yet it would be unjust to ignore the many brilliant and sometimes valuable thoughts that are scattered throughout the writings on Naturphilosophie,— thoughts to which Schelling himself is but too frequently untrue. Regarded merely as a criticism of the notions with which scientific interpretation proceeds, these writings have still importance and might have achieved more had they been untainted by the tendency to hasty, ill-considered, a priori anticipations of nature.

Nature, as having reality for itself, forms one completed whole. Its manifoldness is not then to be taken as excluding its funda-mental unity; the divisions which our ordinary perception and thought introduce into it have not absolute validity, but are to be interpreted as the outcome of the single formative energy or complex of forces which is the inner aspect, the soul of nature. Such inner of nature we are in a position to apprehend and constructively to exhibit to ourselves in the successive forms which its development assumes, for it is the same spirit, though uncon-scious, of which we become aware in self-consciousness. It is the realization of spirit. Nor is the variety of its forms imposed upon it from without; there is neither external teleology in nature, nor mechanism in the narrower sense. Nature is a whole and forms itself; within its range we are to look for no other than natural explanations. The function of Naturphilosophie is to exhibit the ideal as springing from the real, not to deduce the real from the ideal. The incessant change which experience brings before us, taken in conjunction with the thought of unity in productive force of nature, leads to the all-important conception of the duality, the polar opposition through which nature expresses itself in its varied products. The dynamical series of stages in nature, the forms in which the ideal structure of nature is realized, are matter, as the equilibrium of the fundamental expansive and contractive forces ; light, with its subordinate processes, —magnetism, electricity, and chemical action; organism, with its component phases of reproduc-tion, irritability, and sensibility.

Just as nature exhibits to us the series of dynamical stages of processes by which spirit struggles towards consciousness of itself, so the world of intelligence and practice, the world of mind, exhibits the series of stages through which self-consciousness with its inevitable pppositions and reconciliations develops in its ideal form. The theoretical side of inner nature in its successive grades from sensation to the highest form of spirit, the abstracting reason which emphasizes the difference of subjective and objective, leaves an unsolved problem which receives satisfaction only in the prac-tical, the individualizing activity. The practical, again, taken in conjunction with the theoretical, forces on the question of the reconciliation between the free conscious organization of thought and the apparently necessitated and unconscious mechanism of the objective world. In the notion of a teleological connexion and in that which for spirit is its subjective expression, viz., art and genius, the subjective and objective find their point of union.

(2) Nature and spirit, Naturphilosophie and Transcendentalphilo-sophie, thus stand as two relatively complete, but complementary parts of the whole. It was impossible for Schölling, the animating principle of whose thought was ever the reconciliation of differences, not to take and to take speedily the step towards the conception of the uniting basis of which nature and spirit are manifestations, forms, or consequences. For this common basis, however, he did not succeed at first in finding any other than the merely negative expression of indifference. The identity, the absolute, which underlay all difference, all the relative, is to be characterized simply as neutrum, as absolute undifferentiated self-equivalence. It lay in the very nature of this thought that Spinoza should now offer himself to Schellingas the thinker whose form of presentation came nearest to his new problem. The Darstellung meines Systems, and the more expanded and more careful treatment contained in the lectures on System der gesammten Philosophie und der Natur-philosophie insbesondere given in Würzburg, 1804 (published only in the Sämmtliehe Werke, vol. vi. p. 131-576), are thoroughly Spinozistic in form, and to a large extent in substance. They are not without value, indeed, as extended commentary on Spinoza. With all his efforts, Schelling does not succeed in bringing his conceptions of nature and spirit into any vital connexion with the primal identity, the absolute indifference of reason. No true solution could be achieved by resort to the mere absence of distinguishing, differencing feature. The absolute was left with no other function than that of removing all the differences on which thought turns. The criticisms of Fichte, and more particularly of Hegel (in the "Vorrede" to the Phänomenologie des Geistes), point to the fatal defect in the conception of the absolute as mere featureless identity.

(3) Along two distinct lines Schelling is to be found in all his later writings striving to amend the conception, to which he remained true, of absolute reason as the ultimate ground of reality. It was necessary, in the first place, to give to this absolute a character, to make of it something more than empty sameness ; it was necessary, in the second place, to clear up in some way the relation in which the actuality or apparent actuality of nature and spirit stood to the ultimate real. Schelling had already (in the System der ges. Phil.) begun to endeavour after an amalgamation of the Spinozistic conception of substance with the Platonic view of an ideal realm, and to find therein the means of enriching the bare-ness of absolute reason. In Bruno, and in Philos. u. Religion, the same thought finds expression. In the realm of ideas the abso-lute finds itself, has its own nature over against itself as objective over against subjective, and thus is in the way of overcoming its abstractness, of becoming concrete. This conception of a difference, of an internal structure in the absolute, finds other and not less obscure expressions in the mystical contributions of the Menschliche Freiheit and in the scholastic speculations of the Berlin lectures on mythology. At the same time it connects itself with the second problem, how to attain in conjunction with the abstractly rational character of the absolute an explanation of actuality. Things,—nature and spirit,—have an actual being. They exist not merely as logical consequence or development of the absolute, but have a stubbornness of being in them, an antagonistic feature which in all times philosophers have been driven to recog-nize, and which they have described in varied fashion. The actu-ality of things is a defection from the absolute, and their existence compels a reconsideration of our conception of God. There must be recognized in God as a completed actuality, a dim, obscure ground or basis, which can only be described as not yet being, but as con-taining in itself the impulse to externalization, to existence. It is through this ground of Being iu God Himself that we must find explanation of that independence which things assert over against God. And it is easy to see how from this position Schelling was led on to the further statements that not in the rational conception of God is an explanation of existence to be found, nay, that all rational conception extends but to the form, and touches not the real,—that God is to be conceived as act, as will, as something over and above the rational conception of the divine. Hence the stress laid on will as the realizing factor, in opposition to thought, a view through which Schelling connects himself with Schopenhauer and Von Hartmann, and on the ground of which he has been recognized by the latter as the reconciler of idealism and realism. Finally, then, there emerges the opposition of negative, i.e., merely rational philosophy, and positive, of which the content is the real evolution of the divine as it has taken place in fact and in history and as it is recorded in the varied mythologies and religions of man-kind. Not much satisfaction can be felt with the exposition of either as it appears in the volumes of Berlin lectures.

Schelling's works were collected and published by his sons, in 14 vols., 1856-61. For the life good materials are to be found in the three vols., Aus Schelling's Leben in Briefen, 1869-70, in which a biographic sketch of the philosopher's early life is given by his son, and in Waitz, KaroHne, 2 vols., 1871 An interesting little work is Klaiber, Holderlin, Hegel, u. Schelling in ihren Schicdbischen Jugend-jahren, 1877. The biography in Kuno Fischer's volume is complete and admir-able. Apart from the expositions in the larger histories of modern philosophy, in Michelet, Erdmann, Willm, and Knno Fischer, and in liaym's Romantische Schule, valuable studies are—Hosenkranz, Schelling, 1843; Notick, Schelling und die Philosophie der Romantik, 2 vols., 1S59; Frantz, Schellings positive Philosophie, 3 vols., 1879-80; Watson, Schelling's Transcendental Idealism, 18S2. (R. AD.)


Footnote

The briefest and best account in Schelling himself of Naturphilosophie is that contained in the Einleitung zu dem Erster Entwurf (S. W., iii.). The fullest and most lucid statement of Naturphilosophie is that given by K. Fischer in his Oesch. d. n. Phil., vi. 433-692.




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