Schelling’s Political Naturalism: A Case Study on the State in the Würzburg Identity Philosophy

Johannes-Georg Schülein


Schelling is often seen as an apolitical thinker. However, although he never developed a full-fledged political theory like Kant, Fichte, or Hegel, he did reflect on politics, too. Considerations on the political were not merely a side-project for him. He generally built them into a larger philosophical endeavor, for example, in the System of Transcendental Idealism (1800), the Stuttgart Seminars (1810), and the late Presentation of the Purely Rational Philosophy (1847-52). Recently, a growing number of studies have appeared that focus on the traditionally underestimated political aspects of Schelling’s thought. With this essay, I want to contribute to this new appreciation of the political in Schelling. I propose a critical reading of the conception of the state that he developed in the Würzburg period around 1804. We can reconstruct his position from the posthumously published System of the Whole of Philosophy and the Philosophy of Nature in Particular (1804 [SW VI: 131-576]) and the newly edited 1804 lecture notes.

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