Schelling and the Frankfurt School

Authored by: Peter Dews

The Routledge Companion to the Frankfurt School

Print publication date:  November  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138333246
eBook ISBN: 9780429443374
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter begins with a discussion of the importance of Left Hegelianism of the 1840s for the emergence of contemporary philosophical consciousness, as presented by Jürgen Habermas in The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity. It then explores the role which Schelling’s late philosophy played in the emergence of Left Hegelianism, despite the hostility expressed by the Left Hegelians - followed by the young Karl Marx – towards Schelling. This ambiguous relation to Hegel’s major contemporary has been inherited by the Frankfurt School – unsurprisingly, since Critical Theory stands directly in the Left Hegelian tradition - with varying combinations of antagonism and affinity being demonstrated by different thinkers. While Marcuse’s attempt, in Reason and Revolution, to dismiss Schelling’s late philosophy as the prelude to nineteenth-century positivism boomerangs against him, the work of both Adorno and Habermas turns out – in differing ways – to bear the impress of the problematic of Schelling’s late thought, suggesting its continuing significance.

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