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Naturphilosophie - The Work Of Schelling, Supporters And Detractors, Bibliography

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Naturphilosophie refers both to the specific philosophical program Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling (1775–1854) initiated with his Ideen zu einer Philosophie der Natur (1797; Ideas for a philosophy of nature) and to the movement during the German Romantic period that Schelling's work is said to have spawned. The context of both is the achievement of Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), whose philosophical system formed the background against which many of the themes of Romantic thought emerged. In this case, dissatisfaction with Kant's treatment of nature, in which there could be cognition only of the appearances of nature but not of nature-in-itself, provided the occasion for several individuals to attempt to complete what they thought Kant had only begun.

Schelling was by no means the first thinker who departed from Kant's understanding of the natural philosopher's role as a lawgiver to nature. Others from the 1790s who independently of Schelling addressed for various reasons what they saw as the inadequacy of Kant's system where nature was concerned included Franz Xaver von Baader (1765–1841); Carl Friedrich Kielmeyer (1765–1844); Karl August Eschenmayer (1768–1852); and in his dissertation of 1799, Hans Christian Ørsted (1777–1851).

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