DOI link for Absolute Beginnings
Absolute Beginnings book
From the beginning Schelling tries to reconcile fundamentally divergent philosophical worlds: on the one hand he concurs with Fichte’s transcendental idealist emphasis on the primacy of the subject in the constitution of a world of objects, and on the other he is drawn to the monist, largely materialist conception of being as that which is self-caused and whose essence involves its existence, which Spinoza termed God. The vital point in the ‘Pantheism controversy’, which began in 1783 and exercised many of the great minds of a remarkable intellectual era, is that Spinoza is perceived as the ‘prophet of modern science’. This is most graphically expressed in the conviction that Spinozism leads to what F. H. Jacobi prophetically termed ‘nihilism’. ‘Nihilism’, Jacobi maintains, results from thinking based solely on the principle of sufficient reason; he thinks nihilism is also the result of Kant’s separation of knowledge based on the judgements of the understanding from things in themselves.