Nature’s capacities: Schelling and contemporary power-based ontologies

Alderwick, C. (2016) Nature’s capacities: Schelling and contemporary power-based ontologies. Angelaki, 21 (4). pp. 59-76. ISSN 0969-725X Available from:

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This paper draws a number of parallels between Schelling’s Naturphilosophie and contemporary work in the metaphysics of power. This concept is being applied to a range of debates; however a distinct lack of work exists focussing on extending this concept to ontology as a whole. I argue that Schelling’s Naturphilosophie provides insight into what this kind of system would look like. I begin with a brief outline of the characterisation and use of powers in the contemporary literature, to show the marked similarities between these accounts and Schelling’s. I then present my reading of the Naturphilosophie as a power-based ontology, and gesture towards some ways that this account could help to fill some of the gaps in the current literature. Because of the centrality of powers to the Naturphilosophie, and because of the holistic nature of Schelling’s work, the role of powers and relationship of powers to a range of other concepts is carefully specified here. Thus a number of the implications and advantages of this kind of view are already worked out and presented in the texts on Naturphilosophie. Finally, I argue that Schelling’s Naturphilosophie also demonstrates some possible problems that will arise for any ontology of this kind.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Angelaki on 27 September 2016, available online:
Uncontrolled Keywords:Naturphilosophie, powers, metaphysics, Schelling, philosophy of nature
Faculty/Department:Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences > Department of Health and Social Sciences
ID Code:29183
Deposited By: Dr C. Alderwick
Deposited On:21 Jun 2016 11:29
Last Modified:01 Apr 2018 19:15

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