The Origins of Schelling's Naturphilosophie Restricted; Files & ToC

Brennan, Kevin (Summer 2018)

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This dissertation explores the origins of Schelling’s Naturphilosophie, focusing on his rigorous engagement with Kant’s philosophy of nature in two of his early works, the “Timaeus” essay and Of the I as Principle of Philosophy. By providing a careful and extended look at the relationship between these texts and Kant’s critical system, this investigation brings to light the specific conceptual transformations of Kant’s system that establish the foundations for Schelling’s mature Naturphilosophie. I begin with an overview of the complex question of nature within Kant’s critical system. I argue that Schelling undertakes a transformation of the entire Kantian architectonic and that the Naturphilosophie is best understood as a transformation of the three domains of theoretical reason, practical reason, and reflective judgment, as well as the principles that determine their interrelation. The second chapter examines Schelling’s “Timaeus” essay, revealing a young Schelling who is fully immersed in the intricacies of Kant’s philosophy of nature. I show how Schelling takes up Reinhold’s project for a systematic revision of Kant’s system and applies it specifically to the question of the systematic unity of nature by way of an inventive reading of Plato’s Timaeus. In the third chapter, I highlight the role of Schelling’s ongoing dialogue with Kant as an essential source for Schelling’s independence from Fichte and emphasize the importance of Schelling’s early published works for the development of his Naturphilosophie. In the fourth chapter, I provide a reading of Schelling’s Of the I through the lens of § 76 of the third Critique. I argue that Kant’s “Remark” is highly significant for Schelling’s early thought, serving as a blueprint for Schelling’s project of grounding the principles of theoretical reason, practical reason, and reflective judgment in the “I” as the first principle of philosophy. The result is what Schelling will call a “conceptually secure” transformation of Kant’s system, and I show that it is on this foundation that the Naturphilosophie begins to emerge. 

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