Schelling, Heidegger, and the Ambivalence of Will

Research in Phenomenology 51 (2):313-323 (2021)
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Review article on Philipp Höfele's book "Wollen und Lassen: Zur Ausdifferenzierung, Kritik und Rezeption des Willensparadigmas in der Philosophie Schellings" (Freiburg: Alber, 2019). The book demonstrates why Schelling is not an uncritical predecessor of Nietzsche and the will to power, as Heidegger alleges. Instead, Schelling displays an ambivalent attitude toward willing—affirming it in some forms, critiquing or rejecting it in others. Above all, Schelling’s thought on the will has many layers of complexity: it includes not only a variety of forms of willing, but also “fringe phenomena” like non-willing or Gelassenheit that are ordinarily placed in opposition to will. Moreover, Schelling’s philosophy of will is distinctive in not conceiving willing and letting-be as either-or alternatives, as Heidegger tends to do. Especially in the late lectures, Schelling brings them together, showing how non-voluntary phenomena like Gelassenheit make an authentic willing possible.



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Mark J. Thomas
Central College

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