The World Soul in Baader’s and Schelling’s Conceptions
“For in him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). The fundamental metaphysical intuition of the philosophy of Franz Xaver von Baader (1765–1841) seems inspired by these words of the Apostle. He cites them at the beginning of his mature, Cabbalistic natural philosophical-metaphysical synthesis, On Lightning as the Father of Light (Ueber den Blitz als Vater des Lichtes, 1815), and often says that we ‘leben und weben’ in a divine element also in his first published text, On Heat Matter (Vom Wärmestoff, Vienna and Leipzig, 1786) when characterizing heat matter, Wärmestoff or Wärmematerie. In this, at first sight, thermodynamical treatise, heat matter is conceived by him essentially as a universal material representative of God, in which man and the entire natural world are immersed, in short, as he himself says, as a Weltseele. Let us consider the relevant natural scientific and metaphysical doctrines of his study.