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Becoming, Nature, and Freedom

Becoming, Nature, and Freedom

(p.115) Chapter Seven Becoming, Nature, and Freedom
The Romantic Absolute
Dalia Nassar
University of Chicago Press

This chapter explores Schlegel’s understanding of the relationship between the infinite and the finite, and shows how Schlegel seeks to conceive the relation in decisively different terms from the relation between the unconditioned and conditioned. It argues that the infinite and finite are not two separate or distinct entities, such that the infinite precedes and predetermines the finite. Rather, the infinite and finite are reciprocally conditioning and conditioned grounds— the infinite is only in and through the finite, and vice versa. The chapter also illustrates that, according to Schlegel, being or reality is necessarily historical because it is always in a state of transition— the infinite becoming finite, and the finite becoming infinite. The chapter concludes with an exploration of Schlegel’s notion of “infinite becoming” and his view that nature is historical.

Keywords:   Friedrich Schlegel, German idealism, German romanticism, philosophy of nature, Naturphilosophie, romantic science, the absolute, history of philosophy

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