Letter 383n

383n. Schelling to Carl Joseph Windischmann in Aschaffenburg: Würzburg, 14 July 1804 [*]

Würzburg, 14 July 1804

[Invitation to contribute to the Jahrbücher der Medicin als Wissenschaft] [1]

Feel free to choose your topics yourself from the disciplines of the philosophy of nature or medicine; be you not otherwise occupied, every possible contribution from your hand will be highly welcome. I will be opening the first issue myself with a critical survey of all previous publications concerning medical applications of the philosophy of nature. As an accompaniment to that article, I would very much like a similar survey of the purely Brunonian publications from the past few years, as it were as a sample of how far one can — or rather cannot — get with Brunonianism without drawing on the philosophy of nature as well. Would you be interested in doing such a survey? [2] . . .

What you wrote me about esoteric religion, which you seem to view as a hierarchy or collection of self-conceited clerics or Freemasons, shows me, my dear friend, how carelessly you read my appendix. [3]

Nothing is further from me than such banalities.

And then you might also, I would think, consider me capable of profound enough thought to know that one does not really “lay something at the feet” of a man of the world, and might spare me your Upper Rhenish lectures about such indifferent, meaningless turns of phrase.

Your prince elector has offered to contribute part of the pension at his disposal as the local cathedral dean for establishing a scholarly society for the useful sciences. Here, as goes without saying, people have eagerly seized on this generous offer and at the same time thought about using it to establish a literary journal. Paulus has tried to gain control of the latter, as well as of the earmarked monies, in an attempt to use them in his usual Jewish-mercantile fashion to his own advantage in establishing, according to the most obtuse and extraordinarily mediocre views, a pathetic journal with inferior contributors quite to the disadvantage of scholarship.

The prince elector has still not made a decision. If you might speak to him about it, or have someone else speak to him, to the effect that he instead apply the sum, which he has so generously chosen to contribute, for something more useful than the financial speculations of Professor Paulus (the university might be served in many other, different ways), it would be a true service to the good cause. [4]

Stay well and answer soon.


[*] Sources: Plitt 2:21–23; Fuhrmans 3:96–98. This letter is the response to Windischmann’s letter to Schelling on 30 June 1804 (letter 383l). Back.

[1] See Schelling’s letter to Hegel on this same date (letter 383m), in which he similarly solicits Hegel’s participation. Back.

[2] Schelling himself published the survey “concerning medical applications of the philosophy of nature,” namely, “Vorläufige Bezeichnung des Standpunkts der Medicin nach Grundsätzen der Naturphilosophie,” Jahrbücher der Medicin als Wissenschaft 1 (1805) no. 1, 165–206.

This survey is of significance with respect to Caroline’s life insofar as it signals Schelling’s public break with the Brunonian (or Brownian) theory of defective or excessive excitation. Amid the gathering criticism of the Brunonian system, Andreas Röschlaub, who had contributed significantly to its promotion in Germany not least through his translations of John Brown’s works (John Brown’s sämmtliche Werke, trans. Andreas Röschlaub, 3 vols. [Frankfurt 1806–7]), increasingly became the defender of Brunonian theories in Germany.

Schelling, it may be recalled, had used tenets of this system in treating not only Caroline during her illness in early 1800, but Auguste as well in July 1800. See the supplementary appendix on the scandal surrounding Auguste’s death (Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, Höltys Elegie auf ein Landmädchen [1794]; Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum; Museums./Signatur DChodowiecki AB 3.985):



[3] Here and in his comments below, Schelling is commenting on remarks Windischmann had made in his letter of 30 June 1804 (letter 383l). Back.

[4] An odd remark considering H. E. G. Paulus’s missive in the Intelligenzblatt of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (1804) 87 (Saturday, 2 June 1804) 704:


The report circulated in several political newspapers is wholly incorrect that maintains that professors Hufeland and Schelling and I have requested or received a sum of money from the administration of the Bavarian Electoral Palatinate for the purpose of establishing together an Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung here. In order to avoid any misunderstanding in this regard, I am prompted to declare herewith that my previous relationship with the first German enterprise of this sort, the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung that in its twentieth year now continues in Halle, prevents me from considering participation in any other parallel enterprise.

Würzburg, 15 May 1804
Dr. H. E. G. Paulus
Professor and Consistory Councilor Back.

Translation © 2017 Doug Stott