Volume 33, Issue 1, Spring 2003
The Genesis of the Transcendent
Kant, Schelling, and the Ground of Experience
Schelling argues that the Kantian transcendental apparatus lacks the ability to systematically ground itself. He insists that one must account for the prior emergence of experiential reality in addition to delineating this reality’s structure once constituted, and he presents his genetic model of epistemological subjectivity as a supplement completing the Kantian edifice. Although he never finally arrives at a satisfactory system of his own, Schelling repeatedly attempts, in various ways, to strike a productive compromise between transcendental and historico-genetic approaches to subjectivity. Given that contemporary thinkers are still wrangling with the problem of how to adjudicate between those who make claims regarding the existence of invariant features of subjectivity and those who reject the notion that there are non-empirical, ahistorical constants defining human cognition, Schelling’s struggle with these same issues promises to furnish today’s readers with instructive lessons about the potentials and pitfalls of the endeavor to resolve this impasse.