Schelling's Treatise on the Essence of Human Freedom

to be what it is, thus, inner possibility. But do we not have to know beforehand what evil is in order to decide how it is possible? Yes and no. Yes, we have to know it somehow beforehand; we must have a preconcept of it. This preconcept can take hold only when what is to be conceived has already been experienced. We must have a preconcept or at least he must have one who now wants to unfold the inner possibility of evil. But since the thinker relieves us of this in a forceful way and brings it about, it is at the same time true that we do not immediately need this preconcept. Rather, for us the evidence of the inner possibility of evil is nothing other than the attainment of the concept of evil. It is true that we can anticipate the concept of evil and looking ahead say in a free version: Evil is the revolt that consists in inverting the ground of the essential will into the reverse of God's. But so far this is merely an unclear statement, above all lacking the focused perspective from which its meaning is fulfilled. The anticipated delineation of the nature of evil shows at most that we are still very far removed from comprehending. We also cannot decide from this statement which way the revealing of the inner possibility of evil has to go. And it is precisely this way which is important if we want to reach the movement of questioning. Detours are always false ways here.

Thus it is evidence of a lack of understanding of the question, and above all a quite unproductive reaction, if one discards Schelling's treatise on freedom by saying that Schelling fell into a false theologizing here. It is certain that after the treatise on freedom, Schelling brings the positivity of Christianity more and more to bear, but this does not yet decide anything about the essence and the meaning of his metaphysical thinking because it is not yet at all grasped in this way, but remains incomprehensible.

The first section, which is supposed to treat the inner possibility of evil, contains an essential division (p. 39, at the end of the paragraph, "and thi􀏿 constitutes the possibility of good and evil"). We want to get to know this first part (p. 31, "The philosophy of Nature of our time . . . " up to p. 39). It really contains everything and we may thus not expect to understand it completely at the first try. On the other hand, if our interpretation of the introduction has taken the right direction and has correctly distributed the weight of things, we must already be prepared for what is decisive. The intention of the interpretation was with explicating the ontological question and gathering all questions together with regard to the question of Being. Since this is never explicitly evident in Schelling, our procedure might seem one-sided. But we may reconcile ourselves to this one-sidedness, provided that it is the one-sidedness directed toward the One decisive thing. As with every actual interpretation of a work of thought, it is true here that it is not the opinion which a thinker ends up with that is decisive, nor the version in which he gives this opinion. Decisive is rather the movement of questioning that alone lets what is true come into the open.

b.) The Jointure of Being: Schelling's Distinction of Ground and Existence.

The unspoken question, which is nevertheless also a motivating one, is the question of the essence and ground of Being. How does this become evident in the subsequent metaphysics of evil? In the new definition of the nature of human freedom put forth at first as an assertion, as" the faculty for good and evil, " evil was explicitly mentioned. Accordingly, evil is a possible resolution of being free, a way of man's being-free. But according to the formal concept and within the tradition of the Idealistic interpretation of Being in which Schelling also, in spite

Martin Heidegger (GA 42) Schelling's Treatise on the Essence of Human Freedom