This is an English translation of Schelling's Ideas for a Philosophy of Nature (first published in 1797 and revised in 1803), one of the most significant works in the German tradition of philosophy of nature and early nineteenth-century philosophy of science. It stands in opposition to the Newtonian picture of matter as constituted by inert, impenetrable particles, and argues instead for matter as an equilibrium of active forces that engage in dynamic polar opposition to one another. In the revisions of 1803 Schelling incorporated this dialectical view into a neo-Platonic conception of an original unity divided upon itself. The text is of more than simply historical interest: its daring and original vision of nature, philosophy, and empirical science will prove absorbing reading for all philosophers concerned with post-Kantian German idealism, for scholars of German Romanticism, and for historians of science.
Introduction Robert Stern; Translators' note; Glossary; 1. Of the combustion of bodies; 2. Of light; 3. Of the air and the kinds of air; 4. Of electricity; 5. Of the magnet; 6. General considerations, as results of the foregoing; 7. On attraction and repulsion in general, as principles of a system of nature; 8. On the fictitious use of these two principles; 9. Some remarks on the mechanical physics of M. Le Sage; 10. First origin of the concept of matter, from the nature of perception and the human mind; 11. Basic principles of dynamics; 12. Of contingent determinations of matter - gradual transition into the domain of mere experience; 13. Philosophy of chemistry in general; 14. Application of these principles to particular topics of chemistry; 15. Projected outline of the first principles of chemistry; Concluding note and transition to the following part; Appendix; Index of names; Index of subjects.
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