Schelling and Non-Philosophy


Jason Wirth’s collection Schelling Now is more hit or miss than The New Schelling but the former contains multiple discussions of the concept of Mitwisenschaft (or Mitt-wisenschaft) discussed in The Ages of the World.  Mitwisenschaft, which can be translated as con-science, co-knowledge (and other ways) is Schelling’s appropriation (according to Wirth) of the latin conscientiae (the root of conscience).

Schelling’s Mitwisenschaft is treated as thinking’s relation to freedom, as freedom against itself, as the conscience of nature, as self aware ideality, as becoming conscious of the Good without determining the good.

Mitwisenschaft functions as both a radical openness (in the realm of ethics) and as the self limiting of ideality.  Whereas Zizek and Johnston argue that freedom is the central concern of Schelling’s philosophy, I would argue that it is the integration of nature and freedom that is the ontological concern par excellance for Schelling.

The non-determining knowing of Schelling immediately brings up Laruelle’s non-decisional thinking.  As Marcia Schuback writies “Schelling insists on a thinking that dares to recognize its non-priority.”  Schelling’s form of intuition, as Johnston makes clear, is not the everyday sense but the name of thinking which lies outside the material/ideal distinction, as non-formal thinking (72-73).

Yet, whereas Johnston points out that a not-all determination of the material is necessary for Zizek to overcome the material/ideal distinction in order to explain the non-epiphenomenal emergence of subjectivity, Schelling attempts to engender the materiality of nature with a generative quality.  Schelling’s intuition (in relation to Bergson’s conceptualization) speaks to the possibility of knowing the absolute through its concretization via experience.

The ontological value of experience (and intuition as the thought of experience) works with Gabriel Catren’s critique of Meillassoux’s collapse of  the epistemic and the ontological – that is quantum physics does not show that our relation to all objects is relative but that the phase projections of the object’s eidos change but the core stays the same.

Whereas Laruelle equates the concept of Man with the Real we might say that the Real of Schelling is the unground of reality – the generative probability of existence – which is experienced in Man via intuition where Schelling’s eternal past is carried with us.  Mitwisenschaft, is the ethical understanding of the infinite generation of nature as well as the non-determining thought of thinking – thought left outside of the autodecisionalism of philosophy.


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