Author: Thimo Heisenberg
Source: Schellings Freiheitsschrift – Methode, System, Kritik. Mohr Siebeck. Edited by Thomas Buchheim, Thomas Frisch, and Nora C. Wachsmann.
Publication type: Book chapter
Abstract: In his 1811 Weltalter, Schelling, for the first time in his philosophical career, confronts the reader with a stunning claim: time, he argues here, is not the all-encompassing medium in which all human (and divine) actions and interactions take place – rather, time is generated by agents through the decisions they make. In this paper, I investigate what motivated Schelling to develop this heterodox and consciously counterintuitive view. I argue that Schelling was driven to develop it out of a desire to preserve the possibility of human freedom. Indeed, I argue that there are good arguments that, already in his so-called Freiheitsschrift of 1809, Schelling had come to believe that human freedom, in order to be possible, required time to be very different from how we ordinarily conceive of it. His heterodox view of time, then, appears to be intended as a direct response to this realization – as an attempt to show that time indeed had this unconventional structure and was, hence, ‘fit for human freedom’.