F.W.J. Schelling - On the Relationship of the Plastic Arts to Nature


  • Jason M. Wirth Seattle University


This is Schelling’s most notable public address. Its length and difficulty prompt one to wonder how many of his audience were able to follow it, but it remains a seminal text to read and study, one that brings together in dynamic co-illumination two of the great strands of Schelling’s early thought: his Naturphilosophie and Kunstphilosophie. Along with the turn to art in the 1800 System of Transcendental Idealism and the Würzburg lectures on the Philosophy of Art, it is Schelling’s most important and memorable philosophical reflections on art. It is his most concise and unabashed defense of the genetic dynamism of art and its indispensability for human life. Although Schelling’s call for a “revival” of a “thoroughly” and “peculiarly German art” went largely unheeded in Munich until perhaps Der Blaue Reiter collective in the early Twentieth Century, this address’s provocative analysis of the “spiritual in art,” was not only taken up, however indirectly, by Kandinsky in his book (Über das Geistige in der Kunst), but it remains current and worthy of engagement.

Author Biography

Jason M. Wirth, Seattle University

Dr. Jason M. Wirth is professor of philosophy at Seattle University and works and teaches in the areas of Continental Philosophy, Buddhist Philosophy, Aesthetics, and Environmental Philosophy. His recent books include Nietzsche and Other Buddhas: Philosophy after Comparative Philosophy (Indiana 2019), Mountains, Rivers, and the Great Earth: Reading Gary Snyder and Dōgen in an Age of Ecological Crisis (SUNY 2017), a monograph on Milan Kundera (Commiserating with Devastated Things, Fordham 2015), Schelling’s Practice of the Wild (SUNY 2015), and the co-edited volume (with Bret Davis and Brian Schroeder), Japanese and Continental Philosophy: Conversations with the Kyoto School (Indiana 2011).

He is the associate editor and book review editor of the journal, Comparative and Continental Philosophy. He is currently completing a manuscript on the cinema of Terrence Malick as well as a work of ecological philosophy called Turtle Island Anarchy. He was ordained in 2010 in Japan as a priest in the Soto Zen lineage and is the founder and co-director of the Seattle University EcoSangha (www.ecosangha.net).






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