On Schelling and Whitehead


Christopher Satoor and Matthew T. Segall discussing Schelling and Whitehead, plus a bunch of sidebars on the working reality of friendship in philosophical discourse; an excellent complement to secondary literature on both Schelling and Whitehead, and the German romantics.

I like the way Matthew put it concerning Hegel’s success as an individual thinker. Without the two giants of German thought at the time, Schelling and Fichte, slugging out in public discouse, the young Hegel would not be able to comprehend the real issues at stake to develop a phenomenology of consciousness. (Hegel himself acknowledged this in his Difference essay.).But the Phenomenology of Spirit is more often attributed to Fichte’s influence. There’s also truth in this, except that the completion of Fichte’s system, subjective Subject-Object, would not be possible without Schelling’s identity system of objective Subject-Object under the singular principle of subject as identity between the two, which is Nature for Schelling. (In short, Nature is the subjectivized substance of freedom. But for Nature to touch freedom in this way, it must already be an objective unity, capable of effecting a subjective consistency in the exercise of freedom. The only striking difference between Schelling and Hegel is that for the latter Nature cannot be an objective unity before cognition does its work, something that resonates well with Fichte, hence his more obvious influence on Hegel).

Now here I am rehearsing my knowledge of German Idealism that Satoor and Segall’s conversation provoked from my corner. Thanks to Christopher Satoor for initiating this wonderful dialogue.

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