Philosophy of Spirit or Transcendental Philosophy

System des transzendentalen Idealism (1800)
Philosophie der Kunst (Vorlesungen zu Jena 1802-1803)

According to Schelling, philosophy of Nature attempts to teleologically comprehend the products of nature and to “deduce” them from the concept or task of Nature (note the elimination of mechanical causality as the explanatory principle from Schelling’s philosophy). Schelling tried to understand teleologically the products of nature by means of the task of nature and its fulfillment, i.e., teleological causality. Instead of the mechanical causality of “How,” the task or purpose (“For what”) became the central operative concept of understanding Nature.
Schelling’s philosophy of Spirit asked a similar question to that of Fichte’s regarding spirit, regarding intellectual phenomena, moral phenomena and aesthetic phenomena. Schelling directed his interest to the significance of psychic phenomena and their teleological meaning, instead of searching for the mechanical nature and mechanical causal explanation of our spiritual life. He intended to pursue construction of the psychology of life, going beyond Fichte’s philosophy and the history of consciousness. And yet, in many ways Schelling made Fichte’s approaches his examples.
In this respect, too, 19th century philosophy was to retore the meaning and significance of teleological causality of Aristotle and tried to do away with mechanical causality as the principle of reality.
The major difference consists in the fact that in Schelling’s philosophy of Spirit, the moral elements are taken over rather by the aesthetic elements.
In order to investigate the question of knowledge and truth, there are two distinct approaches. Since in general truth is conisdered coincidence between the idea and its object, or knowledge is viewed as the identity of the subjective element and the objective element, the one approach starts with nature or objectivity to understand how the intellect confirms the object. This is called Naturalism (which is sometimes called empiricism in epistemology or materialism in ontology).
The transcendental approach, on the contrary, considers subjectivity as the primary and investigates how the object coincides to the subject or is conformed to the subject. Thus, transcendental philosophy begins with subjectivity as the absolute and tries to deduce objectivity from subjectivity. This approach, considering subjectivity in its purity, denies the independence of the outer world or the world of nature (objectivity) in a certain sense.
By immediately ascertaining the fact “cogito, ergo sum” (that I think, therefore I am) as absolutely certain, transcendental philosophy then attempts to deduce the necessity of presupposing the existence of the outer world (objectivity). This approach is normally called Idealism.
According to Schelling, to accomplish this task it is necessary for the philosopher to have Intellectual Intuition (die Intellektuelle Anschauung). While Kant did not admit intellectual intuition to finite human-beings (cf. Critique of Judgment), Fichte was the first to admit the necessity of intellectual intuition.
Our normal consciousness, being immersed in its own products, cannot be conscious that our (transcendental) self (subjectivity) primordially posits objectivity. In order to recognize such primordial activities of self (subjectivity), Schelling considers that it is necessary to exercise Intellectual, vivid and live Intuition, while Fichte thought it could be accomplished by reflection on our subjectivity and its activities.
Transcendental Philosophy is, according to Schelling, divided into three portions, namely the theoretical portion (metaphysics and epistemology), the practical portion (ethics and politics) and the aesthetic portion (philosophy of arts).

Transcendental Philosophy

i) Theoretical portion‹metaphysics and epistemology
ii) Practical portion ‹ethics and politics
iii) Aesthetic portion ‹philosophy of arts


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