Vol. 19, No. 1 (Spring 2015)
SCHELLING AFTER THEORY
Guest Editors: Tilottama Rajan and Sean J. McGrath
TILOTTAMA RAJAN AND SEAN J. MCGRATH, Introduction: Schelling After Theory
JOHN VANDERHEIDE, A Standstill in Desire: Schelling, Nietzsche, Deleuze and the Idea of Eternal Recurrence [abstract]
This essay explores the ways in which the idiosyncratic onto-theogony of Friedrich Schelling’s 1815 version of The Ages of the World anticipates Gilles Deleuze’s equally idiosyncratic interpretation of Friedrich Nietzsche’s doctrine of eternal recurrence. As I argue, Schelling’s work presents a sophisticated theory of being and time, a complex account of the genesis of actuality from within a differentiated transcendental field, and a reworking of the doctrine of Ideas, all of which together project a conception of reality as eternal recurrence strikingly similar to the one Deleuze draws out of Nietzsche’s scant and elliptical writings on the subject.
TYLER TRITTEN, After Contingency: Toward the Principle of Sufficient Reason as Post Factum [abstract]
This essay argues for the contingency of necessity. The thesis is that contingency constitutes the possibility of necessity, which is always subsequent to contingency, only contingent necessity, a mere modality of contingent being. This study posits the contingency of necessity through a reading of Quentin Meillassoux and the late lectures of F. W. J. Schelling. While Meillassoux argues for the necessity of contingency, Schelling seeks to uncover the contingency at the heart of what is necessary. Although the principle of sufficient reason provides the necessary conditions for something and reason itself derives necessary truths, the fact that there is reason rather than unreason is but the contingency of a fact.
JOSEPH CAREW, Reading Schelling Psychoanalytically: Žižek on the Fantasy of the Ground of Consciousness and Language [abstract]
What are the origins of consciousness and language? Why are so many driven to see them as epiphenomenal to a metaphysically more primordial phenomenon when we have good reasons to think they are irreducible to such? Drawing on the work of the Slovenian psychoanalyst Slavoj Žižek, and in particular his reading of the German philosopher F. W. J. Schelling, I suggest a provocative but nuanced thesis: that at the basis of human subjectivity there is no rhyme or reason for its emergence and to protect ourselves from this insight we build various fantasy-constructions of its ground as defensive mechanisms.
SEAN J. MCGRATH, Schelling and the History of the Dissociative Self [abstract]
This paper explores the possible therapeutical applications of Schellingian psychological principles. A Schellingian analysis would enable us to retrieve the largely forgotten heritage of Romantic psychiatry, in particular the dissociationist model of the psyche, which was strategically rejected by Freud and somewhat clumsily revised by Jung, but which has its own intelligibility and applicability. Schellingian analysis would be dissociationist rather than repressivist, and would depart from Freud and Jung in being both a metaphysical and a moral therapy. But the open-ended eschatological nature of the model of the psyche employed would prevent the therapy from dogmatizing or moralizing the inner life of the analysand.
GORD BARENTSEN, Silent Partnerships: Schelling, Jung, and the Romantic Metasubject [abstract]
Despite Carl Jung’s stated debts to Kant, Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, this paper articulates a more profound yet silent intellectual partnership between Schelling’s philosophy and analytical psychology. Schelling’s metaphysics navigate the aporias Jung often encounters in his psychology; Jung provides Schelling’s metaphysics with a therapeutics and mode of being in the world. This paper reads the actants’ dynamism in Schelling’s First Outline and the potencies’ work of yearning in the 1815 Ages of the World forward to Jungian metapsychology, which thinks Schelling within a topography of the non-Freudian productive psyche. I end by developing the Romantic metasubject as the non-Freudian subject emerging from this ideational countertransference.
JARED MCGEOUGH, Schelling “After” Bakunin: Idealism, Anarchism, Post-Anarchism [abstract]
This essay reexamines aspects of F. W. J. Schelling’s philosophy in the context of the recent resurgence of academic interest in anarchist theory, with emphasis on how Schelling’s thought relates to founding anarchist thinker Mikhail Bakunin. Through an examination of aspects of Schelling’s ontology and his critique of Hegel, I discuss how Bakunin’s objections to Schelling can be tempered, all while providing the framework for a “philosophy of existence” which informs Bakunin’s own departure from a Hegelian “philosophy of essence.” I then propose how Schelling’s ontology might go beyond Bakunin to speak to the non-foundationalist aspects of anarchist thinking today.
BRUCE MATTHEWS, Schelling in the Anthropocene: a New Mythology of Nature [abstract]
I explore how the “synthesis of history and nature” that defines the Anthropocene might signal the advent of the “new mythology” Schelling hoped would emerge from his Naturphilosophie. The epistemological dimension of this new mythology is to be understood through Schelling’s idea of Mitwissenschaft, in which humanity is the essential active agent in the reflexive system of the world. Such an inquiry derives not from a sentimental longing for an en-chanted world, but from the impending “annihilation of nature” Schelling foresaw in 1804. The resulting organic episteme introduces a new realism in which nature, because absolute, becomes normative.
IAIN HAMILTON GRANT, Everything is Primal Germ or Nothing Is: The Deep Field Logic of Nature [abstract]
In Schelling’s “On the Relation between the Real and the Ideal in Nature” (1806), not only does the titular copula bond real and ideal, but it is itself bonded in and by nature. If the copula doesn’t merely bond nature and judgment, but bonds the latter to the former as an instance of the nature from which it derives, what relation does the essay’s search for nature’s primals bear to the universalism of logical law? What, moreover, is the relation of the copula to its environing nature? I here aim to explore the claim that, for Schelling, something is logically exhibited when the nature in the judgment differs for that reason from the nature in which it is itself contained or conceived.
DANIEL WHISTLER, The New Literalism: Reading After Grant’s Schelling [abstract]
In the wake of post-hermeneutic refusals of interpretation in recent continental philosophy, this essay returns to Schelling as a means of understanding what such a renewed reading practice of philosophical fundamentalism might look like. I argue that recent impetus for a Schellingian conception of literalism can be found in Grant’s attack on the metaphorizing tendencies of previous Schelling scholarship, and the ground for such literalism is to be located in the concept of tautegory that Schelling proposes in the Lectures on the Philosophy of Mythology. Schelling is a philosopher of form, and the form of the word remains as inviolable as any other natural form.
GABRIEL TROP, The Aesthetics of Schelling’s Naturphilosophie [abstract]
This paper investigates the implicit aesthetics of Schelling’s early Naturphilosophie. Within the framework of Naturphilosophie, Schelling naturalizes the categories of the beautiful and the sub-lime, making not only the purposiveness of the beautiful, but also the disorder and perturbation of the sublime into part of the internal dynamic of nature. A disequilibrium between the transcendental forces of attraction and repulsion conditions all systems of differentiation, thus giving rise to an aesthetics of production inherent within nature that moves throughout the order and disorder of signs, things, and conscious states.
TILOTTAMA RAJAN, Evolution and its Resistances: Transferences between Disciplines in Schelling’s and Hegel’s Systems [abstract]
According to Novalis the “encyclopedization” of a field occurs when it is not just fitted into a larger architectonic of knowledge, but also reconfigures this whole. This paper begins with Hegel’s encyclopedic ambitions and Schelling’s parallel—if less systematic—project in his 1803/4 lectures on the method of academic study. It takes up Schelling’s First Outline of a System of the Philosophy of Nature (1799), so as to look at the encyclopedic effects of the life sciences on a philosophy that has inevitably become interdisciplinary by trying to organize or at least interrelate all knowledge that matters in an “encyclopedia of the philosophical sciences”: an interdisciplinarity that makes Idealism a first version of “Theory.” More specifically, it focuses on the concept of “evolution” in Schelling’s First Outline: a word that did not have its current, Darwinian meaning, and that therefore allows us to think about more than one model of development, and more than one developmental paradigm for knowledge. In this text Schelling experiments with a model in which Nature evolves from the lower to the higher through a series of graduated stages (Stufenfolge), but he also explores a number of resistances to it. Given that the Stufenfolge provides the prototype for the evolutionary histories that both Schelling and Hegel project in other domains (history, art, mythology etc.), I conclude by taking up the consequences of these resistances for one such area: namely aesthetics as discussed by Hegel.
JOAN STEIGERWALD, Ground and Grounding: The Nature of Things in Schelling’s Philosophy [abstract]
This paper examines the notions of ground and grounding across several of Schelling’s works, from the philosophy of nature, through transcendental idealism and identity philosophy, to the Freedom essay and The Ages of the World. It contends that Schelling repeatedly returns to the same problematic, that each attempt to establish a foundation for philosophy is inscribed with the particular and the concrete, so that the work of grounding is also an ungrounding. It reads the different expressions of Schelling’s philosophy against and through one another, arguing that each offers both a foundation and critique of its others.
DANIEL I. HARRIS, Friendship as Shared Joy in Nietzsche [abstract]
Nietzsche criticizes the shared suffering of compassion as a basis for ethics, yet his challenge to overcome compassion seeks not to extinguish all fellow feeling but instead urges us to transform the way we relate to others, to learn to share not suffering but joy. For Schopenhauer, we act morally when we respond to another’s suffer-ing, while we are mistrustful of the joys of others. Nietzsche turns to the type of relationality exemplified by friendship, understood as shared joy, in order to help him to articulate his ethical ideal for human beings.
PATRICK O’CONNOR, Letting Habits Die: Derrida, Ravaisson and the Structure of Life [abstract]
This essay will provide a comparative analysis of themes at work in both Jacques Derrida and Félix Ravaisson. By putting these thinkers in dialogue will I believe offers valuable insights into questions of deconstruction and vitalism. I will examine Derrida’s remarks on Ravaisson in On Touching: Jean-Luc Nancy, and use his thoughts as a way of explaining the similarities and differences between Derrida and Ravaisson and thus of Derrida’s proximity to and distance from the vitalist tradition. I will also be able to demonstrate the conceptual requirements and conditions for thinking how deconstruction operates, casting light on the ways in which deconstruction offers the conceptual resources to think a general theory of bodies and identities.
BRYAN LUECK, The Terrifying Concupiscence of Belonging: Noise and Evil in the Work of Michel Serres [abstract]
In this paper, I examine the conception of evil and the prescriptions for its mitigation that Michel Serres has articulated in his most recent works. My explication of Serres’s argument centres on the claim, advanced in many different texts, that practices of exclusion, motivated by what he calls “the terrifying concupiscence of belonging,” are the primary sources of evil in the world. After explicating Serres’s argument, I examine three important objections, concluding that Serres somewhat overestimates the role of exclusion in perpetuating evil and that his prescriptions for mitigating evil are excessively optimistic.
LUCAS M. POSSATI, Derrida, la ligne et le cercle. Déconstruction et principe d’analogie[abstract]
La question que nous nous proposons de traiter dans cet article concerne le statut de l’événement de la déconstruction en tant qu’image de la raison : Quelle raison trouvons-nous par le biais de la déconstruction ? Le geste déconstructeur veut dépasser le logos de la métaphysique occidentale sans le dépasser, manifestant l’impossibilité radicale d’un tel dépassement : peut-on parler donc d’un logos déconstructeur ? La différance est-elle coupée du logos ou bien est-elle une autre forme de logosdifférance peut-elle être formulée logiquement ? Nous chercherons à démontrer a) que la déconstruction met en œuvre une logique qui est une logique analogique, et donc b) que l’analogie, conçue dans un sens très technique, b.1) peut non seulement recevoir le statut d’une logique, b.2) mais nous aide aussi à repenser le geste déconstructeur lui-même. Ainsi la voie est ouverte pour une confrontation entre l’œuvre de Derrida et celle d’Enzo Melandri.