The Grounding of Positive Philosophy: The Berlin Lectures

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SUNY Press, Feb 1, 2012 - Philosophy - 242 pages
The first English translation of Schelling’s final “existential system.”

The Berlin lectures in The Grounding of Positive Philosophy, appearing here for the first time in English, advance Schelling’s final “existential system” as an alternative to modernity’s reduction of philosophy to a purely formal science of reason. The onetime protégé of Fichte and benefactor of Hegel, Schelling accuses German Idealism of dealing “with the world of lived experience just as a surgeon who promises to cure your ailing leg by amputating it.” Schelling’s appeal in Berlin for a positive, existential philosophy found an interested audience in Kierkegaard, Engels, Feuerbach, Marx, and Bakunin. His account of the ecstatic nature of existence and reason proved to be decisive for the work of Paul Tillich and Martin Heidegger. Also, Schelling’s critique of reason’s quixotic attempt at self-grounding anticipates similar criticisms leveled by poststructuralism, but without sacrificing philosophy’s power to provide a positive account of truth and meaning. The Berlin lectures provide fascinating insight into the thought processes of one of the most provocative yet least understood thinkers of nineteenth-century German philosophy.

Bruce Matthews is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Bard High School Early College.

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Contents

TRANSLATORS INTRODUCTION
1
TRANSLATORS NOTE
85
THE BERLIN LECTURES
89
ON PHILOSOPHY
91
ON THE ACADEMIC STUDY OF PHILOSOPHY
101
METAPHYSICS BEFORE KANT
113
KANTFICHTE AND A SCIENCE OF REASON
127
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE PHILOSOPHY
141
HISTORY OF NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE PHILOSOPHY
155
METAPHYSICAL EMPIRICISM
171
THE GROUNDING OF POSITIVE PHILOSOPHY
193
NOTES
213
INDEX
227
Copyright

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Page 107 - tis no matter; honour pricks me on. Yea, but how if honour prick me off when I come on? How then? Can honour set to a leg? No. Or an arm? No. Or take away the grief of a wound? No. Honour hath no skill in surgery, then? No. What is honour? A word. What is in that word honour? What is that honour? Air. A trim reckoning! Who hath it? He that died o
Page 107 - Wednesday. Doth he feel it? no. Doth he hear it? no. 'Tis insensible, then? Yea, to the dead. But will it not live with the living? no. Why? detraction will not suffer it. Therefore I'll none of it. Honour is a mere scutcheon: and so ends my catechism.
Page 216 - When philosophy paints its grey in grey, then has a shape of life grown old. By philosophy's grey in grey it cannot be rejuvenated but only understood. The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk.
Page 218 - The law of reason which requires us to seek for this unity, is a necessary law, since without it we should have no reason at all, and without reason no coherent employment of the understanding, and in the absence of this no sufficient criterion of empirical truth. In order, therefore, to secure an empirical criterion, we have no option save to presuppose the systematic unity of nature as objectively valid and necessary.
Page 107 - Honor pricks me on. Yea, but how if Honor prick me off when I come on ? how then ? Can Honor set to a leg ? No. Or an arm ? No. Or take away the grief of a wound ? No. Honor hath no skill in surgery then ? No. What is Honor ? A word. What is in that word, Honor ? What is that Honor ? Air. A trim reckoning ! Who hath it ? He that died o
Page 218 - For the law of reason which requires us to seek for this unity is a necessary law, inasmuch as without it we should not possess a faculty of reason, nor without reason a consistent and self-accordant mode of employing the understanding, nor, in the absence of this, any proper and sufficient criterion of empirical truth.
Page 47 - ... existing things, is an indispensable requirement of the mind, is an abyss on the verge of which human reason trembles in dismay. Even the idea of eternity, terrible and sublime as it is, as depicted by Haller, does not produce upon the mental vision such a feeling of awe and terror ; for, although it measures the duration of things, it does not support them.
Page 219 - This unity of reason always presupposes an idea, namely, that of the form of a whole of knowledge — a whole which is prior to the determinate knowledge of the parts and which contains the conditions that determine a priori for every part its position and relation to the other parts.
Page 224 - The sciences have two extremes which meet. The first is the pure natural ignorance in which all men find themselves at birth. The other extreme is that reached by great intellects, who, having run through all that men can know, find they know nothing, and come back again to that same ignorance from which they set out ; but this is a learned ignorance which is conscious of itself.
Page 51 - But though it needs proof, it should be entitled aprinciple, not a theorem, because it has the peculiar character that it makes possible the very experience which is its own ground of proof, and that in this experience it must always itself be presupposed.

About the author (2012)

Bruce Matthews is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Bard High School Early College.

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