A True Proteus: Non-Being in Schelling’s Ages of the World

In Lore Hühn, Philipp Höfele & Philipp Schwab (eds.), Zeit – Geschichte – Erzählung: F. W. J. Schellings “Weltalter”. Baden-Baden, Germany: Karl Alber (forthcoming)
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In this essay, I give an analysis of the account of non-being in the Weltalter, focusing on the ways in which this account reflects Schelling’s new ontology of revelation. I begin by discussing the connection between non-being and the fundamental distinction between the principles in God. I then turn to the relationship of non-being to being in the Weltalter and show how a new meaning of being allows Schelling to distinguish non-being from nothing. The new meaning of being also makes possible a distinction between essential non-being and de facto non-being; this distinction allows for the temporal sequence of revelation and the possibility of evil. I conclude by showing the implications of Schelling’s theory of non-being for his understanding of creation.

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Mark J. Thomas
Central College


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