Letter 383g

    383g. Heinrich Eberhard Gottlob Paulus to Jakob Friedrich Fries in Jena: Würzburg, 20 May 1804 [*]

    Würzburg, 20 May 1804

    . . . Notwithstanding the fact that we do have Schelling here, the needs of our trustees and of the university itself are not Schellingian. What they would like instead is a man with a different, thorough scholarly background who would strive and indeed understand how to carry Kant’s tendencies forward and render philosophy fruitful through application to the entire sphere of human knowledge. . . .

    Schelling’s mode of teaching has had the absolutely worst influence on students, especially medical students, who have now lost all inclination to comprehend more deeply anything in the more useful and practical subjects. Whence primarily the wish to appoint a different philosopher, one capable of guiding them philosophically back into more realistic spheres of study.

    Although a suggestion to appoint Bouterwek came from Munich, no one is considering such any longer. [1] Schelling’s own credit has already fallen considerably and indeed is still caught in a decrescendo. Even Wagner is now against him. It is not just his doctrines alone, but primarily his mode of teaching and lifestyle through which he has made himself hated through his arrogance, all of which has quickly accorded him a far lower status in public opinion than he had imagined. . . .

    I would be extremely glad to see a man of your sort here. . . . [Might you] perhaps want to lecture not only on speculative and practical philosophy, but also on, for example, aesthetics? [2] or philosophical topics touching on the field of medicine? [3] . . .


    [*] Source: Ernst Ludwig Theodor Henke, Jakob Friedrich Fries. Aus seinem handschriftlichen Nachlasse dargestellt (Leipzig 1867), 94 (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):



    [1] Caroline seems to have been involved in some fashion with Bouterwek’s decision not to pursue further an appointment in Würzburg. See Adalbert Friedrich Marcus’s letter to Schelling on 8 January 1804 (letter 382b), note 3. Back.

    [2] Schelling was also lecturing on the philosophy of art in Würzburg. Back.

    [3] Fries seems to have responded positively, writing to a friend in July 1804 that he had “some hope of receiving an appointment in Würzburg, where Schelling no longer counts for much” (Jakob Friedrich Fries. Aus seinem handschriftlichen Nachlasse dargestellt, 94). Count von Thürheim eventually solicited Paulus’s written proposal for Fries’s appointment; see Paulus’s letter to Fries on 9 August 1804 (letter 385b). Back.

    Translation © 2017 Doug Stott