Schelling’s “First Outline of System of the Philosophy of Nature”, (Introduction)
The introduction to the “First Outline of System of the Philosophy of Nature” occurs, strangely, at the end of the text. Written after the main text, it hopes to summarize its principle arguments, as well as justify its methods.
Schelling’s object of study is a pure productivity he argues must be seen in the heart of nature. If we begin our inquiry with things, already finished products, then we can always raise the question of what produced them. It would seem the buck won’t stop until we seize upon the productivity in itself, the becoming of beings. However, a pure productive force stretching to infinity will not produce a stable series of existing and diverse products succeeding each other in time: rather its work should have been completed all at once. This leads Schelling to posit a diremption or limitation in nature itself. Battling against this limitation, the productive force is ensnared in a variegated hierarchy of products, beings, things, which resist and frustrate it temporarily, before finally being overcome and obliterated. From the struggle between becoming and being, and within the difference that divides them, the world is formed.