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A History of Philosophy in Epitome by Schwegler

In the introduction to his Phenomenology


Since the essay against Jacobi, which in its philosophical content accords mainly with his theory of freedom, Schelling has not made public any thing of importance. He has often announced a work entitled "_Die Weltalter_," which should contain a complete and elaborate exposition of his philosophy, but has always withdrawn it before its appearance. _Paulus_ has surreptitiously brought his later Berlin lectures before the public in a manner for which he has been greatly blamed: but since this publication is not recognized by Schelling himself, it cannot be used as an authentic source of knowledge of his philosophy. During this long period, Schelling has published only two articles of a philosophical content: "_On the Deities of Samothracos_," 1815, and a "_Critical Preface_" to _Becker's_ translation of a preface of _Cousin_, 1834. Both articles are very characteristic of the present standpoint of Schelling's philosophizing--he himself calls his present philosophy _Positive Philosophy, or the Philosophy of Mythology and Revelation_,--but as they give only intimations of this, and do not reach a complete exposition, they do not admit of being used for our purpose.



The great want of Schelling's philosophizing, was its inability to furnish a suitable form for the philosophic content. Schelling went through

the list of all methods, and at last abandoned all. But this absence of method into which he ultimately sank, contradicted the very principle of his philosophizing. If thought and being are identical, yet form and content cannot be indifferent in respect to each other. On the standpoint of absolute knowledge, there must be found for the absolute content an absolute form, which shall be identical with the content. This is the position assumed by _Hegel_. Hegel has fused the content of Schelling's philosophy by means of the _absolute method_. Hegel sprang as truly from Fichte as from Schelling; the origin of his system is found in both. His method is essentially that of Fichte, but his general philosophical standpoint is Schelling's. He has combined both Fichte and Schelling.

Hegel has himself, in his "_Phenomenology_," the first work in which he appeared as a philosopher on his own hook, having previously been considered as an adherent of Schelling--clearly expressed his difference from Schelling, which he comprehensively affirms in the following three hits (_Schlagworte_):--In Schelling's philosophy, the absolute is, as it were, shot out of a pistol; it is only the night in which every cow looks black; when it is widened to a system, it is like the course of a painter, who has on his palette but two colors, red and green, and who would cover a surface with the former when a historical piece was demanded, and with the latter when a landscape was required. The first of these charges refers to the mode of attaining the idea of the absolute, viz., immediately, through intellectual intuition; this leap Hegel changes, in his _Phenomenology_, to a regular transit, proceeding step by step. The second charge relates to the way in which the absolute thus gained is conceived and expressed, viz., simply as the absence of all finite distinctions, and not as the immanent positing of a system of distinctions within itself. Hegel declares that every thing depends upon apprehending and expressing the true not as substance (_i. e._ as negation of determinateness), but as subject (as a positing and producing of finite distinction). The third charge has to do with Schelling's manner of carrying out his principle through the concrete content of the facts given in the natural and intellectual worlds, viz., by the application of a ready-made schema (the opposition of the ideal and the real) to the objects, instead of suffering them to unfold and separate themselves from themselves. The school of Schelling was especially given to this schematizing formalism, and that which Hegel remarks, in the introduction to his _Phenomenology_, may very well be applied to it: "If the formalism of a philosophy of nature should happen to teach that the understanding is electricity, or that the animate is nitrogen, the inexperienced might look upon such instructions with deep amazement, and perhaps revere them as displaying the marks of profound genius. But the trick of such a wisdom is as readily learned as it is easily practised; its repetition is as insufferable as the repetition of a discovered feat of legerdemain. This method of affixing to every thing heavenly and earthly, to all natural and intellectual forms, the two determinations of the universal scheme, makes the universe like a grocer's shop, in which a row of closed jars stand with their labels pasted on them."

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