Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 16, No 1 (2020)

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The Anthropogenic Takeover of Dual External World

Virgilio Aquino Rivas


In this paper, we will briefly audit how the phenomenon of the Anthropocene has taken over what F.W.J. Schelling at the end of the Eighteenth century (1775-1854) described as the state of original duplicity that defines the relation between nature and the organism, an indifferent relation that must not be canceled, otherwise the former will have attained permanent rest. In his second major Naturphilosophie, First Outline of A System of the Philosophy of Nature, Schelling presciently established the ‘problem’ that we face today in the anthropogenic age which, as he put it, is ‘not to explain the active in Nature ... but the resting, permanent.’ The Anthropocene not only cancels the indifferent relation between nature and the organism, but also reverses the problem of Naturephilosophy into explaining the ‘active’, that is, by the potency of willing. But willing mistakes ‘activity’ for ‘permanence’ which cancels the reciprocal indifference to produce an absolute coincidence that is equal to 0. Schelling directs the problem of Naturephilosophy to a maximal or tautegorical reading of nature whose relation to the organism, through its denial of all permanence, creates a dual external world that sustains life as we know it. In general, this reveals Schelling’s critique of subjective idealism that seeks an absolute coincidence between Nature and Man from the pure subjective side of the equation, leaving the objective side of Nature dead and motionless. Needless to say, this ‘absolute coincidence’ is now the epitome of the anthropogenic era of carbon-based climate change. 

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