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Schelling, System of Transcendental Philosophy

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J.C. Berendzen

on 19 October 2011

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Transcript of Schelling, System of Transcendental Philosophy

Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling (1775–1854) System of Transcendental Philosophy Section 1 Subject and object. Truth as correspondance?

Subject = Self/Intelligence. Presenting. Conscious. Object = Nature. Presented. Unconscious. How do they fit together? They are actually a unity
from the beginning. In
philosophy one has to pick one or the other. Transition from Fichte to Schelling Some final issues with Fichte [First] Introduction
7. This section begins with some material that is pertinent to the points raised in section 6. Most important are:
The question of Fichte's metaphysics/ontology
The principle of systematicity Fichte then more or less lays out in brief outline what idealism is supposed to do. There can be two types:
Starting from the fundamental laws of the intellect
Starting from the forms of objects
To put this in terms we have used in this class, the first would start by explicating logical concepts and the second would start by explicating empirical concepts. (in connection with systematicity, see the italicized portion on p. 31, and the material at the bottom of 33) The result involves the a priori and a posteriori being "the same thing, simply looked at from different sides" A Bit of Summary:
What, exactly is IDEALISM? A beginning point--one of the major questions of philosophy regards the relation of Mind and World... Idealism involves a particular kind of way of thinking about that issue Key Points:
Kant showed that all experience involves a combination of conceptual and intuitive elements.
"Conceptual" would seem to coorespond to "mind" and "intuitive" to "world"
But clearly mind gets some kind of emphasis, because of the insight/claim that all we can know is our experience (so we have no access to anything untouched by the mind).
This leaves a few problems--1) What is the mind like? 2) How can we conceive of the "world" on such a view? 3) How "free" of a role does the mind play in this view? What is the ontological status of the Intellect?
What is the ontological status of the world?

"Bad" Idealism
Ontological Agnosticism
Monism ("Dual-Aspect"?) Tathandlung "Fact-act" Clock Analogy
"The Absolute I" Issues taken up by Schelling Dual-Aspect Monism
(i.e. "Spinozism") Freedom But not deterministic! THE ABSOLUTE Natural Science tends to "move from nature to intelligence" If all knowing has, as it were, two poles, which mutually presuppose anddemand one another, they must seek each other in all the sciences; hence theremust necessarily be two basic sciences, and it must be impossible to set out fromthe one pole without being driven toward the other. The necessary tendency of allnatural science is thus to move from nature to intelligence. This and nothing elseis at the bottom of the urge to bring theory into the phenomena of nature. – Thehighest consummation of natural science would be the complete spiritualising ofall natural laws into laws of intuition and thought. The phenomena (the matter)must wholly disappear, and only the laws (the form) remain. Hence it is, that themore lawfulness emerges in nature itself, the more the husk disappears, thephenomena themselves become more mental, and at length vanish entirely. Thephenomena of optics are nothing but a geometry whose lines are drawn by light,and this light itself is already of doubtful materiality. In the phenomena ofmagnetism all material traces are already disappearing, and in those of gravitation,which even scientists have thought it possible to conceive of merely as animmediate spiritual influence, nothing remains but its law, whose largescaleexecution is the mechanism of the heavenly motions. – The completed theory ofnature would be that whereby the whole of nature was resolved into anintelligence. – The dead and unconscious products of nature are merely abortiveattempts that she makes to reflect herself; inanimate nature so-called is actually assuch an immature intelligence, so that in her phenomena the still unwittingcharacter of intelligence is already peeping through. – Nature's highest goal, tobecome wholly an object to herself, is achieved only through the last and highestorder of reflection, which is none other than man; or, more generally, it is what wecall reason, whereby nature first completely returns into herself, and by which itbecomes apparent that nature is identical from the first with what we recognise inourselves as the intelligent and the conscious. "The two opposites are mutually necessary to each other" Section 2: Corollaries Since this is about transcendental philosophy (idealism, basically) subjectivity rather than nature is at issue here. Basic Prejudice There are things outside us. Why is this a prejudice?
It "rests neither on grounds
nor inferences" Why is this basic?
It is "innate and primary"
not artificial Absolute
Preconception I exist. For the transcendental philosopher
these must coincide.

As such, the transcendental philosopher
(per the "transcendental artifice") must go
beyond the basic prejudice, and pry apart
what is, in ordinary consciousness, "fused
together." Schelling speaks in a similar vein in his... Schelling says that the basic prejudice "enters into immediate consciousness"--this is akin to a kind of mental "seeing." This notion--that certain elements of truth or reality are immediate (thus literally not mediated) and have to be "seen" or experienced directly will be very important for Schelling. This portion of the text ends with Schelling saying that "the transcendental artifice will thus consist in the ability to maintain oneself constantly in this duality of acting and thinking."

In this we se some Fichtean and some non-Fichtean elements. For example, he speaks of consciousness as being a kind of act, and speaks of transcendental philosophy involving a "knowing of knowing". But he also speaks of transcendental philosophy "suspending concepts." This is, it turns out, linked to the notion of grasping the subjective as objective. Naturphilosophie Knowledge reduces to prejudices Section 3: Preliminary
Division Note that like Fichte, Schelling is still interested in finding the "ground" of all knowledge--this would be the "first principle" Transcendental Philosophy must
begin with our basic convictions, as found in the "common outlook" More on "Prejudice" Trancendental philosophy deals with knowledge--at the beginning of this section Schelling seems to echo the Kantian (and, I would say, Fichtean) move to put epistemology before ontology. But remember that transcendental philosophy is just one side of the coin for Schelling... What are the implications of this claim? A) There is a world of things independent of us, and our "presentations" are coincident with it. B) Presentations arise freely within us. C) Contradiction This must be resolved--But how? Schelling is This must be resolved Note that when he mentions the"pre-established harmony", Schelling is puposely cribbing Leibniz. But this is very misleading--Leibniz was not a monist. He believed, rather, in a variety of individual substances ("monads") that were harmonized by God (who is also a separate substance from the monads).

For Schelling, there are no monads--just one substance. How can productivity, or willing appear in things that are non-conscious? "Nature, both as a whole, and in its individual products, will have to appear as a work both consciously engendered, and yet simultaneously a product of the blindest mechanism; nature is purposive, without being purposively explicable. –The philosophy of natural purposes, or teleology, is thus our point of union between theoretical and practical philosophy." On the point regarding teleology, see
pages 4&5 of the Naturphilosophie handout. This purposiveness has to be found in consciousness.

This is where art/aesthetic experience comes in.

The "Prince of the Romantics" in his element: The objective world is simply the original, as yet unconscious, poetry of the spirit; the universal organon of philosophy – and the keystone of its entire arch – is the philosophy of art. Schelling Section 4: the Organ of Transcendental Philosophy INTUITION Consider the comparison with mathematics How is this talk of intuition different from Kant? Kant Freely produced
graspable through reflection Passive
"Blind" w/o concepts
Not represented Schelling is drawing, however, on Kant's
3rd Critique when he discusses art and
aesthetic experience (though it is doubtful
that Kant really had Schelling's point in mind). Two last things to note about the reading: Schelling uses the phrase "intellectual intuition." Compare with the end of the Naturphilosophie handout.
At the end of the text, he seems to be saying that philosophy proceeds not so much by logical argumentation as by leading one to see things in the right way. So what is the story with the stuff about art? In the 3rd Critique, Kant seeks to explain how the faculty of judgement (our ability to bring particulars under universals) works. As a part of this discussion he picks out two particular types which he takes to be special because they begin from particulars rather than from universals:
Aesthetic judgement (places particulars under asethetic universals--most obviously beauty)
Teleological judgement (takes particulars to be parts of purposes) Aesthetic judgements seem to be special because "beauty" is not given to us as a concept beforehand, yet it is universal. Kant thinks this universality must come from a shared sensibility.

Briefly, Kant thinks this comes about when our perception of a certain object causes our mental faculties to harmonize in a certain way. Teleological judgements seem to be special because they go beyond physical attributes. Consider Pinkard's example--while we seem to want to say that the eye has a purpose, but an eye that does not see does not break any natural law (Ghost Lizards).

Roughly, Kant thinks it is necessary for us to assume that nature has purposes but there is no empirical basis for this. The two come together, for Kant, in
that he thinks that those things which give
use the sense of beauty do so because they "fit together" in the right way. So they show something like a design or purpose (he calls this "purposiveness without a purpose"). He also thinks that beauty in nature is primary. Schelling basically runs with this idea; his assumption is that (only) aesthetic experience reveals the fact that nature is purposive, and this links nature to the mind. Requires a "higher discipline" that combines theoretical and practical philosophy
Can only be worked out on the assumption that there is a "pre-determined harmony"
this means that the objective is identical with "that which expresses itself in volition" (i.e. the subject)
So the World/objective is "productive without consciousness"
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