Heideggers Encounter with F.W.J. Schelling:

The Questions of Evil and Freedom

End of Metaphysics


Daniel Fidel Ferrer

Central Michigan University Libraries

There is no other principle of explanation for the world than divine freedom.

F.W.J. Schelling.

All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.

Spinoza (Ethics, v 42).

The alpha and omega of all philosophy is freedom.

From a Letter from Schelling to Hegel, February 4, 1795.





Martin Heidegger through his reading of F.W.J. Schellings treatise on human freedom comes to a critique of metaphysics. Heidegger starts with an analysis of systems in general, then pantheism, fatalism, human freedom, a metaphysics of evil, metaphysics in general, and finally the metahistorical ontological position of Being as Will. Basically, Schellings radical thinking on human freedom and evil annihilates the metaphysical foundation of Idealism and hopefully metaphysics in general. It is only after the end of metaphysics, according to Heidegger can we began a dialogue with Being and God or the gods. This work on Schelling is perhaps the most sustain discussion of traditional theological issues in Heideggers writing.





The speculative thinking of German Idealism seems far removed from our time. This paper looks at Heideggers reading of one of the deeper thinkers of German Idealism, namely, F.W.J. Schelling (1775-1854). Schelling was a young bright star of Idealism, he was highly published, but his friend G.W.F.Hegel (1770-1831) soon replaced him in the sun light.


Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) publications show him as the most published philosopher and thinker of the twentieth century. Heideggers thinking has sparked many people to write about him. He is the most written about twentieth century philosopher. This has been called the Heidegger industry.


Heideggers early theological connections are extensive. He entered as a novitiate of the Society of Jesus at Titis near Feldkirch in Austria in 1909, at the age of 19. He began studying for the priesthood at the Albert-Ludwig University in Freiburg. In 1911 abandons the theological seminary, changes to mathematics and philosophy. Heidegger in 1913 says the undersigned intends to dedicate himself to the study of Christian philosophy and the next year 1914 he says, career in the service of researching and teaching Christian-Scholastic philosophy (The Young Heidegger, p. 54). He also speaks of doing a study of the problem of a theoretical-scientific treatment of Catholic theology (ibid. p. 55).


Now at the end of the millennium, it is time to review what has happen in the twentieth century in thinking and theology. Heideggers first major publication was Being and Time in 1927 and it is his most famous work. His collected work (Gesamtausgabe) has grown to ninety volumes and is still growing. Most of these are lectures he gave to specific groups or are extensive lecture notes that were first-read to students at the University of Freiburg or Marburg. Heideggers most documented lecture course on Schelling dates from 1936 with some notes from the summer semester 1941 at the University of Freiburg. This paper is based on the English translation of the book entitled: Schellings treatise on the essence of human freedom, by Martin Heidegger.

Clearly Heideggers is an ontologist. The question of the meaning of Being is his fundamental question in Being and Time and remained his primary matter for thought. Through his work on ontology, philosophy, and metaphysics, he has especially influenced the theology of his friend Rudolf Bultmann among others.


Who was Schelling?

F.W.J. Schelling (1775-1854) was a roommate with G.W.F. Hegel (1770-1831) and the famous classical poet, F. Holderlin (1770-1843) at the Tubingen Stift. His first major publication Ideen zur Philosophie der Natur (1797) was published at the age of twenty-two. He was appointed to a chair of Philosophy at Jena University, 1798 (age of twenty-three). In 1803 he moved to a chair at Wurzburg University until 1806. During this time he wrote his treatise on human freedom in 1809 (age of thirty-six). This was to be his last major work published during his life time even though he wrote volumes. These were not to be published. Back to1806, he meets the theologian Franz von Baader (1765-1841) and was reading Jakob Bohme (1575-1624). Other influences on Schelling at this time were Christoph Oetinger, Paracelsus, Emanuel Swedenborg, Johann Bengel, Saint Martin, Johannes Tauler, Meister Eckhart, and Nicolaus of Cusanus. In 1841 he was called to Berlin University to try to overturn Hegels influence after Hegels death in 1831. In Schellings Berlin lectures was a group of students who perhaps became more famous than Schelling himself, namely, S. Kierkegaard, J. Burckhardt, F. Engels, L. Feuerbach, and M. Bakunin. Schelling has become more famous in the twentieth century through his influence on Paul Tillich (1886-1965) and his theology. Tillich two most famous books on Schelling are: 1) The construction of the history of religion in Schelling's positive philosophy: its presuppositions and principles (originally, his thesis from 1910) and, (2) Mysticism and guilt‑consciousness in Schelling's philosophical development (originally, his thesis from 1912).


At this moment we need to mention Bertrand Russells, A history of Western Philosophy. In the section on I. Kant (1724-1804), after discussing Fichte, (1762-1814) he ends with the following remark, His immediate successor Schelling (1775-1854) as more amiable, but not less subjective. He was closely associated with the German romantics; philosophically, though famous in his day, he is not important. (p.718). B. Russell is known for writing a great many works during his life time. Perhaps he needed to do a little more reading, research, and thinking before writing. Also, A history of Western Philosophy was written under contract, so perhaps he was more interested in money than philosophy. Who said that the Sophist had a bad name in Greece?



Heideggers encounter with Schelling


Heidegger has a fresh way of reading, thinking, and philosophizing with other philosophers and poets. He is not just interested in what they said, but what they wanted to say but could not say, where they get stuck, and Heidegger tries to get them unstuck. This is where Heidegger wants to have a dialogue. Heidegger is very much alive to the hermeneutical text. Part of the methodology he used in Being and Time was hermeneutics and he is responsible for rekindling this methodology in the twentieth century. In the methodological section of Being and Time, he says, Phenomenology of human existence (Da-sein) is hermeneutics in the original signification of that word . . .

Heideggers reading of Schelling is not as controversial as his interpretation of Kant.


For the motto of this interpretation of Schelling, Heidegger approvingly quotes Schelling himself, If you want to honor a philosopher, you must catch him where he had not yet gone forth to the consequences, in his fundamental thought; (in the thought) from which he takes his point in departure (Treatise, p.9). Although this is Schellings thought, Heideggers later works mention this same motif repeatedly, as he does his own unique interpretation of the Western thought. In another work Heidegger says, The doctrine of a thinker is that which is left unsaid in what he says. In a later article Heidegger says, We show respect for a thinker only when we think. This demands that we think everything essential that is thought in his thought. (The Word of Nietzsche, p. 99).


To be exact, Heideggers reading of Schelling is a radical interpretation. This reading has more to do with Heidegger becoming clear on his Metahistory of metaphysics, than that of understanding Schellings own project. If you want to understand Schelling, then read Schelling. On the other hand, if you want to understand Heideggers interpretation of the history of ontology - then read Heidegger.


Heidegger starts his analysis with saying that, Schellings treatise on freedom is one of those very rare works . . . (Treatise p.4). From a different point of view, G.W.F. Hegel remarked about this work, Schelling had made known a single treatise on Freedom. It is of a deep speculative nature, but it stands alone. In philosophy a single piece cannot be developed (Hegels History of Philosophy, p.13). This tells us more about Hegels position than his understanding of what Schelling is trying to do with his work on freedom. (A short historical digression. By this time, the two great friends, Schelling and Hegel had already had a falling out and only had a chance meeting later in life at a bath spa, Karlsbad, September 1829. After Hegel died, his son Immanuel heard Schelling lecturing in Munich and was invited to his house and seemed impressed with Schellings and his daughters as well.)


Now to return to Heideggers work. According to Heidegger, Schelling is very important for our understanding of this period. For example, he says A . . . for Schelling is the truly creative and boldest thinker of this whole age of German philosophy. He is that to such an extent that he drives German Idealism from within right past its own fundamental position (Treatise p. 4). Our task is to see if Schelling can really get us by Idealism and metaphysics. Has metaphysics finally come to end after Idealism?


It should be noted that Heidegger does not come to a generalized notion of freedom or evil. These notions are rather used in the service of his bigger project, that is, of the deconstruction of metaphysics. This is part of our problem in the understanding and the interpretation of Heideggers work on Schelling. Heidegger takes only a glancing blow at both freedom and evil. His main sights are aimed at the foundations of ontology, theology, and metaphysics. This process has been called genealogical deconstruction or archeologies of western metaphysics. Heidegger says in Being and Time, The destructuring of the history of ontology essentially belongs to the formulation of the question of Being and is possible solely within such a formulation. (E.T., p. 20). So, the purpose of this project is the same as Being and Time, namely, what is the meaning of Being. Thus, Heidegger looks at Schelling in terms of the history of ontology and metaphysics. What is Schellings place in the history of metaphysics?



Attack on the concept of Systems


Beginning with Spinoza and certainly with Kant the concept of the System has been an important driving force in Western thought. Kant says for example, in Critique of Pure Reason, A13, Transcendental philosophy is here the idea of a science, for which the critique of pure reason is to outline the entire plan architectonically . . . and in A847 The original idea of a philosophy of pure reason itself prescribes this division; it is therefore architectonic, in conformity with its essential ends . . . Kants concept of system is clearly - architectonic. Kant was a great system thinker, but the concept and implementation of the system clearly reach its climax in Hegel. Hegel is perhaps the greatest system thinker ever.


Hegel says in his Science of Logic (1812), Accordingly, logic is to be understood as the system of pure reason, as the realm of pure thought. It can therefore be said that this content is the exposition of God as he is in his eternal essence before the creation of nature and a finite mind. (p. 50). In a sense GOD is the SYSTEM or GOD equals the SYSTEM. Note the whole pantheism discussion.


In Hegels thinking there is, A. . . first part of the System of Science which contains the Phenomenology should be followed by a second part containing logic and two concrete sciences, Philosophy of Nature and Philosophy of Spirit, which complete the System of Philosophy (p. 29). Later on Hegels system project was completed as lecture notes under the title Encyclopaedia of Philosophical Sciences.


Hegels entire system is obviously linked to his theology. In the first part of the Science of Logic, Hegel has a section entitled With What Must the Science Begin?. At this end of this section Hegel states: ...(and God has the absolutely undisputed right that the beginning be made with him) . . . (p.78). This points to the theological foundations of Hegels system. Heidegger would have said this points to the onto-theological foundation of not just Hegels system, but the metaphysics of Idealism in general. Heidegger says, God is the leading idea of system in general (Treatise p. 50). It is hard to image German Idealism without a theology, an atheist Idealism seems out of the question for these philosophers.


Heidegger makes the following amazing remark about Hegels entire system and Schelling destructive criticisms of systems in general. Heidegger says, The treatise which shatters Hegels Logic before it was even published.( Treatise p.97). Hegels Science of Logic is the fundamental foundation to his entire system. Once Hegel wrote his Logic the rest of his life was just working on the fine details of his system. In a sense, Hegel was finished thinking and philosophizing. All of Hegels questions had been answered.


In Heideggers analysis of Schelling, he says, Schelling shows first of all how the system is split open by the reality of evil (Treatise p.98). Freedom leads the way for possibility of evil. Human freedom radical conceived by Schelling breaks open the system.

How is freedom possible within a system?






What does Heideggers analysis of Schelling show us about freedom? Heidegger says, A . . . freedom is freedom for good and evil. The and the possibility of this ambiguity and everything hidden in it is what is decisive. That means that the whole concept of freedom must change. (Treatise p. 97). So, it is not good or evil. Instead, Heidegger is doing ontology and his analysis has more to do with the possibility of evil, that is, not what evil means, but that evil exists and has an ontological status. Is there really evil in the world? Does evil exist for us?


According to Schelling, Until the discovery of Idealism the genuine concept of freedom was lacking in all recent systems, in Leibnizs just as in Spinozas. Schelling thinking in relation to Spinoza (1632-16770 has always been close, but he also makes reference to Leibniz (1646-1716) concept of freedom. Schelling often quotes G. W. Leibnizs Theodicy (1710), which has two major sections: section I, Preliminary Dissertation on the Conformity of Faith with Reason. Section two in three parts, entitled, Essays on the Justice of God and the Freedom of Man in the Origin of Evil. (p.31, E.T., 1-417 paragraphs). Note the concepts of freedom of man and evil are similarly in name to Schellings treatise, however, they are used in a much different way in Leibniz.


Toward the end of his analysis, Heidegger asks the question, But then why is the treatise on the system a treatise on freedom? Because evil truly existent in human freedom and as human freedom. The most extreme discord in beings is truly existent in the freedom of man (Treatise p.177). This leads to the next section on evil.







I. Kant in October 1794 received a strongly worded letter from his King. This was right after Kant published his last major work entitled: Religion within the limits of reason alone (1793). The King was not happy with Kant and said: If you continue to resist, you may certainly expect unpleasant consequences to yourself (p.xxxiv). Although he got into hot water over the publication, the major theme of the work is evil and human nature. For example, there are four books and the first is entitled: Book One. Concerning the indwelling of the evil principal with good, or, on the radical evil in human nature. Although these topics seem somewhat the same as Schelling, Kant has a much different direction. Heidegger does not make any connection with Kant in his analysis of Schelling. Although Schelling grew up reading Kant and Fichte, he seems to pay more attention to Leibniz in this work.

What does evil mean for Heidegger? In his analysis of Schelling, he says, Evil - that is the key word for the main treatise. The question of the nature of human freedom becomes the question of the possibility and reality of evil. And AEvil itself determines the new beginning in metaphysics. The question of the possibility and reality of evil brings about a transformation of the question of Being. (Treatise p. 97). How is that possible? What is the speculative relationship between the question of Being (Sein) and evil?


During Heideggers analysis of Schelling, he makes a sweeping statement Previous systems, especially Idealism, are incapable of founding a true system acknowledging the reality of evil. The next time the reflection is affirmative: the determining of the ground of the system, the essence of Being in general, must be more primordially conceived in order for evil to be comprehensible in its own being and thus introduced into the system, thus making a system of freedom possible (Treatise p.98). This amazing statement by Heidegger does not seem to lead anywhere. So far, Heideggers other writing does not follow up on this statement. Heidegger has certainly made attempts to more primordially conceive the essence, meaning, truth of Being, but the introduction of evil into the system and making a Heideggerian system of freedom has not happened. What is Heideggers concept of freedom? So far in published writings this is not a major concept for Heidegger, but his use here is more generally to attack Idealism and metaphysics.






In part of Heideggers analysis of Being he also quotes Schelling, here is the whole passage, Heidegger says, Being is understood as egoity, as freedom. Freedom is will. Thus, Being is originally willing. The Will is primal being. (Treatise p. 99). The famous quote from Schelling is The Will is primal being. This plays into Heideggers interpretation of Schellings ontology.


For Heidegger, Schelling is at the beginning of the 19th century shapes Beings Metahistory with Being as Will, which begun with Kant.


Freedom is Will, Being is Will, this then leads us in the late 19th century to Schopenhauers central work The World as Will and Representation and Nietzsches major project (starting in 1877), which he called the Will to Power, and he restarted again and again. For Heidegger these are last moments in his Metahistory of Being. Being is - Being as Will. This is a Metahistory which Heidegger is hoping will end. This provides him a foundation to escape the entire onto-theological metaphysics of western thought. (See The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking). Heidegger says in his work on Nietzsche the following about metaphysics, But then what does it mean Athe end of metaphysics? It means the historical moment in which the essential possibilities of metaphysics are exhausted (Nietzsche Vol IV, p.148). Heidegger points this out directly in a later work, he says, ABut Hegel also, as little as Husserl, as little as all metaphysics, does not ask about Being as Being . . . (p.389). Again, Heidegger wants to step beyond his own shadow, to ask about Being (Sein) and God outside of traditional metaphysics and ontologies. He is ontologist and he wants to radically ask the question of the meaning of Being.






According to Heidegger theology, philosophy, metaphysics, and ontology are closely linked. This position is not in line with what passes as Philosophy on most university campus today. Heidegger says, Philosophys questioning is always and in itself both onto-logical and theological in the very broad sense. Philosophy is Ontotheology. The more originally it is both in one, the more truly it is philosophy. And Schellings treatise is thus one of the most profound works of philosophy because it is in a unique sense ontological and theological at the same time (Treatise p. 51).


At a more particular level Heideggers remarks on Christian theologies (circa 1936) appear in general to be negative. For example, Heidegger says,


The assertion often heard of late that modern philosophy is simply a secularization of Christian Theology is only true very conditionally and also true only in being restricted to adopting the realms of Being. Rather, the reverse is true that Christian theology is the Christianization of an extra-Christian philosophy and that only for this reason could this Christian theology also be made secular again (p51).


Finally, In Heideggers analysis of Schelling, he says, God lets the oppositional will of the ground operate in order that might be which love unifies and subordinates itself to for the glorification of the Absolute. The will of love stands about the will of the ground and this predominance, this eternal decidedness, the love for itself as the essence of Being in general, this decidedness is the innermost core of absolute freedom (Treatise p.160).


(In German: Gott lasst den gegenstrebigen Willen des Grundes wirken, damit jenes sei, was die Liebe einige und sich zur Verherrlichung des Absoluten unterordne. Der Wille der Liebe steht uber dem Willen des Grundes, und dieses Uberwiegen, die ewige Entschiedenheit dazu, also die Liebe zu sich selbst als Wesen des Seyns uberhaupt; diese Entschiedenheit ist der innerste Kern absoluten Freiheit.(in Schelling: Ueber das Wesen der menschlichen; AKA Schelling: Vom Wesen der menschlichen Freiheit (1809). 1936., p. 277).


In this quotation, Heidegger links God=Love=Absolute Freedom=Eternal Decidedness=Absolute in a very direct way, they are the Self-Same. How this becomes an identity is part of the deep speculative thinking that has directed this kind of inquiry.




End of Metaphysics


Metaphysics has exhausted its possibilities, it has ended. The question for Heidegger is what path there is for thinking after metaphysics. He wants to open the question of the truth of Being - and, make room for God or the gods.


Heidegger did an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel in September 1966. This was only to be published after his death. Heidegger died in 1976 and the interview was published a few weeks later. The interview seems to get at a much more personal tone of the later Heideggers think on a great number of topics. You also get a sense that Heidegger is humble about his influence and what can be done. However, this a theo-logy with no connections to metaphysics or the Onto-theo-logy nature of metaphysics. This is a step out. The followed passages give us a sense of Heideggers thinking on the future of a postmetaphysical theo-logy


Only a god can save us. The sole possibility that is left for us is to prepare a sort of readiness, through thinking and poetizing, for the appearance of the god or for the absence of the god in the time of foundering; for in the face of the god who is absent, we founder (Der Spiegels Interview with Martin Heidegger, p277).


Heideggers last remark in this interview was, For us contemporaries the greatness of what is to be thought is too great. Perhaps we might bring ourselves to build a narrow and not far-reaching footpath as a passageway. (Der Spiegels Interview with Martin Heidegger, p284). So, we need a footpath or some kind of path onward. Heidegger uses the image of the path a great deal in his writings.


A Heidegger poem dating from 1971 says,



Paths of thought, going by themselves,

vanishing. When they turn again,

what do they show us?

Paths, going by themselves,

formerly open, suddenly closed,

later on. Once pointing out the way,

never attained, destined to renunciation -

slackening the pace

from out of the harmony of trustworthy fate.

And again the need

for a lingering darkness

within the waiting light.


(Philosophy Today, vol. 21, 1976, p287)


Heidegger feels himself in the lingering darkness and he is waiting for the light.

The lingering darkness is the absent of God and God is the light.

And where is the trustworthy fate?



Open areas of research.


1) Schelling connections to I. Kants - evil and freedom.


2) Schellings connections to G. W. Leibnizs - evil and freedom.


3) How is Schelling connected with G.W.F. Hegels concept of freedom?


4) How did Jacob Bohme writings influence Schelling?


5) What are Franz Baader connections with Schelling?


6) How is Heideggers postmetaphysical position linked to

Eastern Religion and thought?


7) Heideggers position of Being as Will seems to logically connect

Schelling with Nietzsche. Schopenhauers links to Schelling?



Daniel Ferrer

Park Library

Central Michigan University

Mount Pleasant, MI

48859 U.S.A.


E-mail: Daniel.Ferrer@cmich.edu


History of this paper:

Paper for Religious Studies Section. Michigan Academy of Science,

Arts, &letters in February 27, 1998. (Alma, Michigan).





Bibliography and Notes


Heidegger and Schelling on the Web.


General Martin Heidegger web site:



Heidegger and Only a God Can Save Us Thomas K. Carr:



Schelling short biography:




Hegel on Schelling, need to use the left hand frames

for searching under History of Philosophy:



Schelling on Hegel:



Part of Schellings System of Transcendental Philosophy:






Buren, van John. The Young Heidegger: Rumor of the Hidden King. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994.


Hegel, G.W.F. Hegels Science of Logic. Translated by A.V. Miller. Humanities Press, New York, 1969.


Hegel, G.W.F. Hegel: The Letters. Translated by Clark Butler and Christiane Seiler. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1984. P. 32.


Footnote: Only a god can save us: Der Spiegels Interview with Martin Heidegger, Philosophy Today, Winter 1976. Der Spiegels Interview with Martin Heidegger, p. 277.


In 1936 Heidegger gave a summer lecture series on Schelling: Vom Wesen der menschlichen Freiheit (1809). Volume 42 of the Heideggers Gesamtausgabe is entitled: Schelling: Ueber das Wesen der menschlichen; AKA Schelling: Vom Wesen der menschlichen Freiheit (1809). 1936. This does not include Appendix which appears in the English translation below.


The English translation is Schellings treatise on the essence of human freedom, by Martin Heidegger. Translation by Joan Stambaugh, published by Ohio University Press, 1985. This is a translation from the German entitled: Schelling Abhandlung uber das Wesen der menschlichen Freiheit. Published by Max Niemeyer Verlag Tubingen, 1971.


Schellings work first came out under the title: Philosophical Inquiries into the Nature of Human Freedom and Matters Connected Therewith as part of F.W. Schellings Philosophical Writings, Volume 1, in 1809. F.W.J. Schelling was thirty-four years old at this time.


See. Ott, H. Heidegger, Martin Catholic Origins. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, V. 69, N. 2, 1995, p 137.


Bibliography - Schelling and Freedom


Schelling's philosophy of freedom

By Laughland, John. A thesis, 1999.


Choosing evil : Schelling, Kierkegaard and the legacy of Kant's conception of freedom

By Kosch, Michelle. A thesis, 1999.


Spinoza's thinking of freedom and its reception in subsequent European philosophy.

By Bernstein, Jeffrey Alan. A thesis, 1998.


The conspiracy of being : F. W. J. Von Schelling and conscientiousness before philosophy's freedom

By Wirth, Jason Martin. A thesis, 1994.


The abyss of freedom

By Zizek, Slavoj. ; Schelling, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von,; 1775‑1854. ; Weltalter.; English. 1997.


The physics of freedom : the beginnings of Schelling's philosophy of nature

By Koeller, David Wayne. A thesis, 1989.



Heidegger and Schelling Additional Notes.


Heidegger does not mention Schelling in Being and Time (1927). However, in the little essay by Heidegger entitled My way to Phenomenology, he mentions on his walks with his Professor Dr. Carl Braig (circa 1911) A . . . I first heard of Schellings and Hegels significance for speculative theology as distinguished from the dogmatic system of Scholasticism (p. 73). In a very early work of Heideggers entitled Review of Ernst Cassirers Mythical Thought (1928), he compares Cassirers position to the later Schellings work on mythology. In the last paragraph Heidegger writes, The critical questions here brought forward cannot detract from the merit of Cassirers work insofar as it is the first attempt since Schelling to place myth as a systematic problem within the range of philosophy (p. 45).


Heidegger earlier lectures from 1929 are concerned with only the early Schellings work, not the Treatise on freedom. See Heideggers volume GA 28, Der Deutsche Idealismus (Fichte, Hegel, Schelling) und die philosophische Problemlage der Gegenwart. 1929. In 1968, Heidegger gave the first of series of seminars First Le Thor seminar (Hegel: Differenz des Fichteschen und Schellingschen Systems), in Provence, August 30 to September 8. The topic of this seminar is Hegels work, entitled: The difference between the Fichtean and Schellingian systems of philosophy. Also, there are notes from volume GA 49, Die Metaphysik des deutschen Idealismus. Zur erneuten auslegung von Schelling: Philosophische untersuchungen ueber das Wesen der menschlichen Freiheit und die damit zusammenhaengenden Gegenstaende (1809). 1941.



In Heideggers work entitled, Who is Nietzsches Zarathustra?, he says the following about Schellings treatise:


The essential coinage of Being comes to language in classic form in several sentences formulated by Schelling in his Philosophical Investigations into the Essence of Human Freedom and the Objects Pertaining Thereto (1809).

The three sentences read:


In the final and highest instance there is no other Being than willing. Willing is primal Being, and to it willing alone all of the predicates of the same primal Being apply: absence of conditions; eternity; independence from time; self-affirmation. All philosophy strives solely in order to find this supreme expression.


Schelling assets that the predicates which metaphysical thought since antiquity has attributed to Being find their ultimate, supreme, and thus consummate configuration in willing. However, the will of the willing meant here is not a faculty of the human soul. Here the word willing names the Being of beings as whole. Such Being is will. (E.T., p. 222).