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Robin Parry is the husband of but one wife (Carol) and the father of the two most beautiful girls in the universe (Hannah and Jessica). He also has a lovely cat called Monty (who has only three legs). Living in the city of Worcester, UK, he works as an Editor for Wipf and Stock — a US-based theological publisher. Robin was a Sixth Form College teacher for 11 years and has worked in publishing since 2001 (2001–2010 for Paternoster and 2010– for W&S).

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Mechanistic views of nature and the omnipresence of death: Insight from Schelling

The philosopher F. W. J. Schelling made an interesting observation in the early nineteenth century on the impact of Newtonian, mechanistic views of nature on the understanding of life:
Since men agreed that, in the beginning, matter was dead, it was decided that death was the principle governing all things, and that life was just a derivative phenomenon. And after matter had succumbed to death, nothing remained but to banish the last witness to its vitality, that is, to transform light, the universal spirit of nature, the form of forms, into an equally corporeal entity, to divide it up mechanistically just like everything else. Now since life was extinguished in all the members and organs of the universe, since even the living manifestations that connect bodies to one another were reduced to lifeless motions, there now remained only the final and grandest task, namely, to bring nature, already dead in its innermost parts, back to life again, mechanistically.
Bruno, 209–10.
But, as contemporary philosopher David C. Schindler notes, for Schelling, "if a connection to life were removed altogether from matter even at its most rudimentary level, it would never be able to be reintroduced later, and that the loss of life in nature would in turn evacuate the meaning of human existence."

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