Naturphilosophie and Christian Orthodoxy in Coleridge’s View of The Trinity
In his assessment of Kant’s, Schelling’s and Steffens’s writings on Naturphilosophie, Coleridge focused now and again on a single and, in its implications, most serious error that, without exception, made their systems unacceptable to Coleridge: the inability to accommodate the concept of a Christian God in an all-embracing system of the natural world. He was relentless in exposing the heresies, no less than the logical inconsistencies, resulting from the philosophers’ inadequate conception of the Absolute. Schelling attempted to burn a candle at both ends by giving intelligence and nature an equal share in originating the same series of productive acts that were indigenous to the Absolute. In declaring nature a self-subsistent totality, Schelling inevitably slipped into pantheistic thought, making God ‘a part of the universe, nay, a product of the same’ (CL, iv, 873–4). Steffens fared no better when, in following Schelling’s philosophy, he advocated the oneness of nature and the Absolute. Even Kant, though limiting his doctrine of nature to physics, came dangerously close to pantheism when he explained the permanence of matter without any reference to spirit. Coleridge thought that the absence of a proper theory of the Absolute in a treatise dealing with corporeal nature was potentially as damaging to dynamic philosophy as the mistaken identification of the Absolute with nature in the systems of Schelling and his followers.
KeywordsPhilosophic System Christian Theology Christian Religion German Idealism Original Unity
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