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(2014) The Palgrave handbook of German idealism, Dordrecht, Springer.

The "keystone" of the system

Schelling's philosophy of art

Devin Zane Shaw

pp. 518-538

In his Introduction to the System of Transcendental Idealism (1800), Schelling states that "the objective world is simply the original, as yet unconscious, poetry of the spirit; the universal organon of philosophy – and the keystone [Schlußstein] of its entire arch – is the philosophy of art" (STI 12 [SW I/3:349]). Artistic production, which is grounded in what Schelling calls aesthetic intuition, realizes what philosophy intuits in the ideal: the identity of subject and object, consciousness and unconscious activity, as well as self and nature. The philosophy of art, he argues, overcomes the limitations of both practical philosophy and nature-philosophy. On the one hand, practical philosophy, which begins by positing the subject's activity, is limited to the infinite task of approximating – but never objectively realizing – the moral law. On the other hand, nature-philosophy, which begins from the object, can demonstrate nature's productivity, although this productivity remains unconscious. While both parts of the system proceed from the intellectual intuition of the identity of subject and object, neither can demonstrate this identity; they fail Schelling's demand, found in the Ideas for a Philosophy of Nature (1797), that the system should show that "Nature should be Mind made visible, Mind the invisible Nature" (IPN 42 [SW I/2:56]). Thus he introduces the philosophy of art, which demonstrates how the intellectual intuition of the identity of subject and object "become[s] objective" through an aesthetic intuition – the production of the work of art (STI 229 [SW I/3:625]).

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-1-137-33475-6_26

Full citation:

Zane Shaw, (2014)., The "keystone" of the system: Schelling's philosophy of art, in M. C. Altman (ed.), The Palgrave handbook of German idealism, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 518-538.

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