Thursday, January 8, 2015

Schelling and Kant: philosophical cosmology and metaphysics

Naught Thought blog has a thought provoking post up covering Schelling and Kant.  I'll post highlights and then the link.
From Schelling’s writings it is clear he has immense respect for Kant, calling him the Aristotle of Germany (as he puts it in The Grounding of Positive Philosophy) and that he nearly perfected negative philosophy through the Critiques. By negative philosophy Schelling means a pure rationalism that addresses the conceptual specifically or, in other words, the negative philosophy determines what is real but not reality (GPP, 131). By no means does Schelling assert or infer that the negative philosophy is unnecessary only that, by its own definition, it can have have no content other then what is determined according to its own ground such that as soon as reason determines something as real the reality of that conceptual content dissipates.
The difficulty that Schelling identifies and that stays with him from his earliest writings to his last, is that the ancient model of philosophy stands strong given the fact that the identity of subject and object through the thirdness of mediation shows that we begin from the synthetic. Since we are immersed in an ill-defined system, every competing philosophical system must recognize that every other system is attempting, first and foremost, to stabilize the world or bring the infinite under the yoke of a kind of finitude. The arduous work is explaining how determinations as such occur in the first place (or why is there something rather than something else or, given there is something which is activity, why are there individuals?). It is here where it is all too easy to fall into the claim that Schelling either simply breaks metaphysics in the name of something like a proto-existentialism or that he is simply harkening back to dogmatic metaphysics. Instead what Schelling is doing is arguing that practical or pragmatic philosophy requires a postulate that seems metaphysical in order to ground adequately the pursuit of a philosophy that is simultaneously consistent yet open ended. It is Schelling’s strength on these last points in particular that made him popular with Peirce. Peirce appreciated that Schelling’s systems were used till they failed (his systems are ablative rather than self-standing) and that Schelling was one of the few modern philosophers who did not, in Peirce’s opinion, fall under the banner of nominalism. 
The positive philosophy speaks to the fact that, for Schelling, the fact of the world pre-exists the construction of a system which occurs in the environment of that world. But world is not a singular entity (a big physical object) nor is it a collection or closed set of all things but only a world as a horizon. The world is a totality in progress...

Link HERE.