Where have all the Monads Gone? Substance and Transcedental Freedom in Schleiermacher

Journal of Religion 95 (4):477-505 (2015)
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This article explores the later Schleiermacher’s metaphysics of substance and what it entails concerning the question of transcendental freedom. I show that in espousing a metaphysics of substance, Schleiermacher also abandoned an understanding of nature as a mere mechanism, a view implying what I call a “state-state view of causation” (“SSV” for short). Adoption of the view of the self as substance was motivated by the primacy of practical and religious concerns in Schleiermacher’s later work: in Christian Faith, an analysis of self-consciousness from a first person point of view grounds this understanding of the self. In fact, in Christian Faith, ontology, and thereby theology, is only possible through such a first person analysis. The development of Schleiermacher’s views over time, and the reasons accompanying this development, can be fully understood only the in the context of his engagement with the work of Spinoza, Leibniz, and Kant. In what follows I trace this development through an analysis of the philosophical problems and influences shaping Schleiermacher’s mature view, and shed light on his understanding of self-consciousness and its relation to God. My own account should also serve to correct some recent misunderstandings that have made their way into the secondary literature.
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