Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 27, Issue 1, Fall 2022

Terrence Thomson
Pages 97-117

Kant’s Opus postumum and Schelling’s Naturphilosophie: The Very Idea

This paper is about Kant’s late unfinished manuscript, Opus postumum (1796–1803) and some of the resonances it has with Schelling’s early Naturphiloso­phie (1797–1800). Most of the secondary literature on Opus postumum investigates its relation to the rest of Kant’s corpus, often framing the drafts as an attempt to fill a so-called “gap” in the Critical philosophy whilst ignoring the relationship it has to the wider landscape of late eighteenth century German philosophy. Whether Opus postumum may provide grounds for reviewing the relationship between Kant and Schelling’s Naturphilosophie, for example, is rarely discussed. Some scholars have remarked upon the striking parallels between Opus postumum and Naturphilosophie, but there has yet to appear a single monograph-length text on the relation. Whilst certainly “Schelling’s Post-Kantian confrontation with nature itself begins with the overthrow of the Copernican revolution” (Grant 2008, 6), what if Kant was himself overthrowing the Copernican revolution? In this paper, I will outline some of the points of contact to start from in support of posing this question.