Gauging Schelling's Late Return to Kant

Beiträge
Zusammenfassung:

Late in life, Schelling proposes a critique of German idealism’s first principle, the very principle he defends early on under Fichte’s influence. I aim to reveal the Kantian and Maimonian influences on Schelling’s late turn. Kant defines a principle’s proof as relying on the sense experiences that a principle in turn makes possible. The reciprocity in this signals to Schelling that proving the first principle’s reality must be an endless, historical affair. But while Kant thinks answering the question quid juris, regarding our right to possess the concept underlying this principle, entitles us to go on with our proof, Schelling comes to see that demonstrating this right does not answer the question quid indicii, regarding our actual application of such a concept. Maimon raises this question in light of the possible non-reality or emptiness of our core concepts. The worry is that if the proof of the application--i.e., the reality--of the first principle relies on sense experience, it will always fall short of a form-matter unity. Maimon’s doubts about our answer to the question quid indicii therefore lead Schelling to acknowledge an ineliminable skepticism that attends the whole of history as the record of our continuing proof of the first principle.

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