Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 7, No 2 (2011)

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From Kant to Schelling and Process Metaphysics: On The Way to Ecological Civilization

Arran Gare

Abstract


The post-Kantians were inspired by Kant’s Critique of Judgment to forge a new synthesis of natural philosophy, art and history that would overcome the dualisms and gulfs within Kant’s philosophy. Focusing on biology and showing how Schelling reworked and transformed Kant’s insights, it is argued that Schelling was largely successful in laying the foundations for this synthesis, although he was not always consistent in building on these foundations. To appreciate this achievement, it is argued that Schelling should not be interpreted as an idealist but as a process metaphysician; as he claimed, overcoming the oppositions between idealism and realism, spiritualism and materialism. It is also argued that as a process metaphysician, Schelling not merely defended an organic view of nature but developed a theory of emergence and a new conception of life relevant to current theoretical and philosophical biology. This interpretation provides a defense of process metaphysics as the logical successor to Kant’s critical philosophy and thereby as the most defensible tradition of philosophy up to the present. It provides the foundations for post-reductionist science, reconciling the sciences, the arts and the humanities, and provides the basis for a more satisfactory ethics and political philosophy. Most importantly, it overcomes the nihilism of European civilization, providing the foundations for a global ecological civilization.

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