In 1804 Schelling diagnosed our impending “annihilation of nature” due to our conceptual detachment from and consequent economic exploitation of our natural world. His critique of Modernity’s Cartesian Idealisms, effected through his inversion of the Kantian categories, results in a philosophical project whose relevance to our ongoing climate crisis is difficult to overstate.
Bard College/BHSEC, professor of philosophy, research in German Idealism and Romanticism, with a focus on life and thought of F.W.J. Schelling, whose recent work revolves around Schelling’s critique of modernity with its anticipation of, as he wrote in 1804, ‘the annihilation of nature,’ and its relevance to the Anthropocene.
“Schelling in the Anthropocene: A New Mythology of Nature,” (Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy, 2015), “Schelling: A Brief Biographical Sketch of the Odysseus of German Idealism,” in The Palgrave Handbook to German Idealism (2014), and “The New Mythology: Between Romanticism and Humanism,” in The Relevance of Romanticism (Cambridge University Press, 2014). Books include the forthcoming intellectual biography, Schelling: Heretic of Modernity (2018), Schelling’s Organic Form of Philosophy: Life as the Schema of Freedom (SUNY 2011).
There is a broad consensus that Aristotle introduced the concept of matter in order to develop a consistent account of substantial change. However, it is disputed which role matter fulfills in substantial change. According to the traditional interpretation, matter persists while taking on or losing a substantial form. According to a rival interpretation, matter does not persist in substantial change; instead, it is an entity from which a new substance can emerge and which ceases to exist in this process. In my view, both interpretations are problematic in the light of Aristotle’s broader ontological project and are at odds with the way Aristotle describes the substantial generation of living beings. On the basis of Aristotle’s biological theory, I will suggest that Aristotelian matter is a continuant in substantial generation, but does not satisfy the common criteria for persistence that apply to individual substances.
Anna Schriefl is Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin (assistant professor) at the University of Bonn, and currently a visiting scholar at the New School. She has published a book about Plato’s criticism of money and wealth, and most recently an introduction into Stoicism (both in German).