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Internationaler Workshop „Methode und System in Schellings Freiheitsschrift“

Carl Friedrich von Siemens Stiftung München, 20./21. Juli 2016

Liste der Vorträge:

  • Hiroshi Abe: Schelling und Böhme über Selbstheit und das Böse. Kommentar: Thomas Buchheim
  • Christoph Binkelmann: Die Logik der Dialektik. Verstand und Urteil in Schellings Freiheitsschrift. Kommentar: Tyler Tritten
  • Anthony Bruno: Schelling on Freedom’s Compatibility with Monism, Theology and Practical Reason. Kommentar: Marcela Garcia
  • Christian Danz: „Verstand setzt Persönlichkeit voraus“. Anmerkungen zu den naturphilosophischen Grundlagen von Schellings Verständnis der Person zwischen 1800 und 1809. Kommentar: Dalia Nassar
  • Mildred Galland-Szymkowiak: Zum „gesprächsweisen“ Verfahren in der Freiheitsschrift. Leben, Dialogizität, Personalität. Kommentar: Christian Martin
  • Marcela Garcia: Existence and Actuality: the Freedom essay from the perspective of the late philosophy. Kommentar: Paul Ziche
  • Thimo Heisenberg: Two Accounts of Character Formation in Schelling’s Freedom Essay. Kommentar: Nora Wachsmann
  • Michelle Kosch: The moral psychology of evil in Schelling’s Freiheitsschrift. Kommentar: Daniel Whistler
  • Amit Kravitz: Einige Überlegungen zu Schellings Auseinandersetzung mit der ‚Freiheit Gottes‘ in der Freiheitsschrift. Kommentar: Thomas Frisch
  • Christian Martin: Transformativer Personenbegriff und serielle Methode. Kommentar: Galland-Szymkowiak
  • Dalia Nassar: The Feeling of Freedom: Schelling on the Role of Freedom in Grasping Nature. Kommentar: Paul Ziche
  • Lara Ostaric: Schelling and Kant on Freedom. Kommentar: Anthony Bruno
  • Tyler Tritten: Freedom is Necessity; or, the Logic of Posterior Anteriority. Kommentar: Christoph Binkelmann
  • Daniel Whistler: Potentiation and Serialisation in Schelling’s Methodology. Kommentar: Thimo Heisenberg
  • Paul Ziche: „Ahndender Wille“ und „vermitteltes Wissen“: Schellings „höherer Realismus“ in der Freiheitsschrift. Kommentar: Christian Danz

During the workshop – as well as in our discussion since then – five central issues have emerged as particularly significant and controversial:

(1) The ‘intelligible deed’ and historicity in the Freedom Essay

The relationship between freedom and necessity in the intelligible deed (intelligible Tat) is still a hotly debated issue. The ‘inner’ necessity of essence, of which Schelling speaks in his text, is best interpreted as the view that the actions of a particular entity follow from its nature according to the law of identity (SW 384). The great subtlety of Schelling’s approach in these matters can be brought out by contrasting it with Spinoza’s approach to the same subject. Whether Schelling’s view on these matters, however, still leaves room for a fundamental change of character during our empirical lives (‘dynamic historicity’) remains a matter of dispute. One possibility of resolving this apparent problem might lie in the idea that one essence encompasses different ‘levels’ of determinacy, which are put in a serial order. A dynamic ‘addition’ of determinacy to an essence that is already determined through itself then becomes conceivable, without any contradiction – as long as we imagine this additional determination as being added on a different ‘level’ than the previous one. In other words: The problem of dynamic determination disappears, if we conceive of the different determining steps as being distributed on different levels of a serial order. The intelligible deed of the human being, which falls into the beginning of creation and precedes the temporal process of history, constitutes the first level of this order and provides human beings with the basis for achieving freedom under historical conditions (= second level of this order). The third, constitutive level of this order then allows for “divine transmutation (göttliche Transmutation)” in a future shared by all free subjects. This idea of different ‘levels’ of human self-determination, which has now been briefly sketched, might also be able to explain why Schelling (after publishing the Freedom Essay) attempts to work out an evolutionary model of all reality and, in this context, develops a highly sophisticated theory of time (namely in the Philosophy of the World Ages).

(2) The ‘dialectical method’

Schelling’s specific method in the Freedom Essay continues to be a matter of great interest: should we see a similarity to his own, earlier experiments with the dialogical form, which are on display in Bruno and which build on a somewhat Platonic tradition? Should we see a similarity to Hegel’s dialectical method (which Schelling had encountered in the Phenomenology of Spirit)? Or should we read the expression that “everything arises as a sort of dialogue (alles wie gesprächsweise entsteht)” (SW 410) as a reference to a new aporetic-argumentative method, through which one’s views and personal ‘truths’ are defended against all conceivable objections? Furthermore: What is the relationship between the ‘dialectical method’ and the personhood of the free subject? Is the transition between the different levels of the system (pantheism, emanation and dualism) somewhat necessitated or is it only possible through an act of freedom? What emerges clearly, at any rate, is that substantial progress on all of these questions can be made by comparing Schelling’s philosophy before and after 1809. One point that particularly stands out is this: the change in Schelling’s conception of the philosophical system as a whole seems to coincide with a significant change regarding the order in which he discusses preceding systems. While he previously had simply discussed them in the historical order in which they occurred, he now discusses them in a ‘dialogically generated’ order.

(3) Identity and Difference – the ‘logic’ of the Freedom Essay

At the workshop, we saw two distinct, yet extremely concise, reconstructions of the theory of judgement that underlies the Freedom Essay. Is the conception of a ‘creative identity (schöpferische Identität)’ just a sophisticated version of the dialectic of principles Schelling had already presented in his earlier ‘philosophy of identity’? Or does Schelling gesture here towards a logic which introduces a temporal element into the ‘absolute identity’? Even a third interpretation might be possible: the absolute identity might possess an intrinsic order, which – even though not itself temporal – exhibits a dynamic, multi-leveled structure. Whatever the case, it seems clear that the answer to this question holds significance not only for our understanding of the Freedom Essay itself, but also for our understanding of its relationship to Schelling’s earlier works.

(4) Schelling’s ethics in the Freedom Essay

The implications of Schelling’s Freedom Essay for moral philosophy are equally still a matter of great interest. What kind of possibilities does Schelling’s critique and transformation (‘Ontologization’) of Kant’s moral philosophy open up? Is he able to stake out a new position that answers questions Kant had left open, e.g. questions about the origins of evil or the possibility of a return from it? And can he still offer substantive criteria for distinguishing good and evil deeds?

(5) The role of ‘feeling’

A rather new set of questions arises from the frequent use of emotive concepts in the Freedom Essay. These questions do not only pertain to the epistemic role ‘feeling’ plays in guiding the inquiry. Much rather, they also pertain to the broader explanatory function of various emotive concepts (such as ‘Sehnsucht’ or ‘Ahndung’) in Schelling’s argument. Indeed, they even pertain to the relevance of Schelling’s own, earlier transcendental arguments for understanding notoriously difficult theorems such as the relationship between freedom and necessity in the intelligible deed.

 

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