An 'Ethics for the Transition': Schelling's Critique of Negative Philosophy and its Significance for Environmental Thought

In G. Anthony Bruno (ed.), Schelling's Philosophy: Freedom, Nature, and Systematicity. New York, NY, USA: pp. 231-248 (2020)

Dalia Nassar
University of Sydney
Over the last four decades, environmental ethics has become an increasingly significant field of philosophy. Yet, many of its practitioners question its goals and effectiveness. Above all, environmental philosophers voice uncertainty about the extent to which the field has been able to influence action, behaviour, and policy in relation to the environment. What are the reasons behind this meagre influence and what kind of contrasting philosophical approach might enable transformative action? The goal of this paper is to answer these questions by drawing on Schelling’s late philosophy. I argue that Schelling’s critique of philosophical logicism reveals the ways in which certain ways of doing philosophy fails to enable ethical and behavioural transformation. By contrast, I show that Schelling’s “positive philosophy” can offer important insights into our current situation and illuminate a way forward for a sustainable environmental ethics.
Keywords Schelling  existentialism  environmental ethics  environmental crisis  negative philosophy  positive philosophy
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