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Vijak Haddadi Moghaddam

Schelling's Existential Cosmology


The philosophy of F.W.J. Schelling has long been woefully neglected, superficially read on
terms imposed by a hostile historiography, or at best understood as a hidden precursor to
later projects. Only very recent efforts in continental philosophy are breaing with this
anti!uated image and are contributing to a discovery of Schelling as a crucial figure in
Western philosophy whose thought is of the greatest contemporary relevance. "n this vein,
my doctoral project sees to lay bare the one great idea which # against the do$a of a
multitude of mutually inconsistent phases # animates all of Schelling%s thought from the initial
poetic writings in the &omantic circle, over the systematising collaborations with 'egel, to
the dar e$istential reflections of the middle phase and the monumental archaeology of spirit
of the late philosophy. (y thesis discloses Schelling%s great idea as that of philosophy as
e$istential cosmology) a mode of thought which fully embraces the radical contingency, the
meaningless facticity and the ungroundedness of e$istence, while yet searching for the
possibility of a redemptive symbolic integration of the universe # the passage from chaos to
cosmos. "n the reception of Schelling these two central concerns have commonly been
separated and taen in isolation, maing Schelling on the one hand the grandfather of
e$istentialism whose influence on *ieregaard, Jaspers and 'eidegger has been formative,
and on the other hand a +aturphilosoph and thiner of a vibrant self,organising universe
whose thought has been of great influence on the cosmologies of thiners lie -eirce and
.ergson. 'owever, as my thesis argues, the true power of Schelling%s thought lies e$actly in
the ability to thin the e$istential and the cosmological as ine$tricably intricated. Schelling%s
main philosophical tool for accomplishing the disjunctive synthesis of cosmos and e$istence
is the theory of powers /die -oten0enlehre1 which # grounded on a fundamental analytic of
deep reality # accounts for the emergence of symbolic stability in self,organising domains of
nature and spirit, while allowing for their radical realignment through the rupturing decisions
of historical agents. (y thesis presents a reconstruction of the theory of powers and their
mode of operation throughout ey elements of Schelling%s oeuvre, and a confrontation of this
figure of thought with the most salient rivalling projects, producing a novel systematisation of
e$istential cosmology which renders this project immediately contemporary.