Volume 25, Issue 1, Fall 2020
The “Almost Necessary” Link Between Selfhood And Evil In Schelling’s Freiheitsschrift
This article attempts to draw out and to clarify a tension at the core of Schelling’s Freiheitsschrift (1809). This tension can be put as follows. On the one hand, Schelling insists quite strongly throughout this text upon the inherent goodness of creaturely selfhood—not simply in the negative sense that selfhood is not intrinsically evil, but in the positive sense that each created self is loved by God and destined to play a singular part in God’s self-revelation. On the other hand, Schelling depicts selfhood in terms that seem to link it inextricably—perhaps constitutively—to sin and evil. It is my contention in this article that this tension arises as a result of Schelling’s attempt, in the Freiheitsschrift, to embed an essentially Kantian account of radical evil within the broadly Neoplatonic framework he had sketched five years earlier in his Philosophy and Religion (1804).