IZfK Band 7, 2022

„Der Ursprung der Naturphilosophie aus dem Geiste der Mystik“ –

Eine Relektüre Karl Joëls

Herausgegeben von Johanna Hueck und Harald Schwaetzer

The present volume is devoted to philosopher Karl Joël’s approach, which he presented under the title “Der Ursprung der Naturphilosophie aus dem Geiste der Mystik” in 1906. Even though times have changed, it seems worth pointing out the sources from which Joël drew, according to the conviction that gave rise to the present volume. Just as Joel himself asks about the origin of the philosophy of nature, the contributions to this volume will enquire about the origin of his own thought. After a basic presentation of his concept (Schwaetzer), the three epochs to which Joël primarily recurs will be considered: Antiquity (Schneider), the Renaissance (Cuozzo) and German Idealism (Hueck), including Late Idealism (Hernández). A contemporary perspective (Thomas) concludes the volume. In a narrower sense, the question of the present volume situates in the area of a philosophy of nature of the Anthropocene. It discusses the thesis that the philosophy of nature arises from mysticism without dissolving in it, but that the latter must not deny its origin. Joël thus offers a concept of science that productively questions current conceptions while it has been, at the same time, embedded in an anthropology that also takes seriously the mental and spiritual in humans and in the cosmos.


Inhalt:

 
Mysticism as Principle of Philosophy of Nature. A Rereading of Karl Joël

The volume is devoted to the approach of the philosopher Karl Joël, which he presented under the title “Der Ursprung der Naturphilosophie aus dem Geiste der Mystik” in 1906. Although the times have changed, it is worth pointing out the sources from which Joël drew, according to the conviction that gave rise to the present volume. Just as he himself asks about the origin of the philosophy of nature, so the contributions to this volume will enquire about the origin of his own thought. After a presentation of Joël’s concept (Schwaetzer), the three epochs to which he primarily recurs will be considered: Antiquity (Schneider</span), the Renaissance (Cuozzo) and German Idealism (Hueck), including Late Idealism (Hernández). Finally, there is a view from the present (Thomas). In a narrower sense, the question of the present volume is situated in the area of a philosophy of nature of the Anthropocene. It discusses the thesis that the philosophy of nature arises from mysticism without being dissolved in it, but that the latter must not deny its origin. Joël thus offers a concept of science that productively questions current understandings and is at the same time embedded in an anthropology that also takes seriously the mental and spiritual in man and the cosmos.
 
Mysticism as Principle of Philosophy of Nature. The importance of Joël’s Argument

Karl Joël’s book “Der Ursprung der Naturphilosophie aus dem Geiste der Mystik” seems at first glance, like almost all of his writings, as if the author was not very keen on an argumentative course. Yet, the text has been very precisely structured. Its four chapters correspond to the four unities: “It is actually a fourfold unity that they all [i.e. the Renaissance thinkers, HS] teach in the sensed unity of life: the unity of man, of the soul with God [1], the unity of God with the world [2] [...], the unity of the world as such [3], and the unity of man with the world [4]” (Joël 1906: 6). From the indifference point of feeling, Joël develops mysticism as the source of knowledge on one side and science as its clear verification on the other side. He bases his concept on an understanding of real spirituality as shown in the ensoulment of the cosmos and in the doctrine of metempsychosis.
 
Natural philosophy, religious feeling and poetry of early antiquity at Karl Joël

According to Joël’s study from 1906, natural philosophy, religious feeling or thinking and poetry are not separate cultural phenomena, but rather are interrelated. This contradicts the prevailing view around 1900 and so his work can be understood as an attempt to develop a new view of cultural horizons. Joël sees “feeling” and “mysticism” directed at nature as the main impulse. These two terms, which were completely shaped by the psychological ideas around 1900, cannot, however, come close to the life of early antiquity and obstruct the view of the novelty seen by Joël: the determination of a special cognitive disposition of a time that permeates all cultural phenomena.
 
Leonardo da Vinci and the Birth of Natural Philosophy in the Renaissance. A journey through images

The “sfumato” is a new notion, both from an artistic and metaphysical viewpoint. Thanks to this concept, Leonardo brings the reflection on the nature of the cosmos to a level of surprising currency, thus overcoming the dichotomy between the human and the natural world (animals, plants, atmosphere, water, and rock formations). At the same time, the distinction between nature and supernatural reality is also questioned: nature is pervaded by the spirit, i.e., the incorporeal force that animates the entire universe, while the sacred turns out to be rooted in an original dimension that escapes any temporal computation. And it is to this union that such magnificent works such as The Virgin of the Rocks, the Mona Lisa, and Saint Anne with the Virgin and Child are inspired. They are pictorial treatises on the philosophy of nature that are inspired to the divine principle, which pervades creation. At the heart of this deep osmosis between natural exploration and the human-divine world is creativity of the artist, in whose works the world is spiritualized and perfected.
 
Natural philosophy and conversion of the soul in Karl Joël and F.W.J. Schelling

In his work “On the Origin of Natural Philosophy from the Spirit of Mysticism” Karl Joël refers several times to Schelling and his thinking about nature without elaborating on this references. The article discusses the thesis, whether the concept of conversion, which seems to be essential for Joëls philosophical approach, could be seen as a link between him and Schelling. It substantiates that both authors find in the conversion of human beings a condition for a non-reductive insight into nature.
 
The Question of the Adequate Knowledge of Nature in Immanuel Hermann Fichte

The present article addresses the question of the adequate knowledge of nature in the context of Immanuel Hermann Fichte’s philosophy of nature. After an examination of the position and role that this systematic problem has both in Karl Joël’s book Der Ursprung der Naturphilosophie aus dem Geiste der Mystik and in contemporary research on the Anthropocene, this article offers a depiction of Fichte’s conception of the aposterioric-speculative mode of knowledge of nature. Finally, Fichte’s conception of knowledge of nature is brought up for discussion both with Joël’s epistemological thesis and with certain approaches of contemporary research on the Anthropocene. It is shown that Fichte’s philosophy offers a productive perspective to addressing contemporary problems of the Anthropocene.
 
Love as Nature Mysticism. Postmetaphysical and Postcritical Potentials in Henri Bergson and Thomas Rentsch

When we feel that all beings are interconnected – how can we reconstruct this in philosophical terms, avoiding ideology and scientific-evolutionary or religious big pictures? This text looks at Bergsons notion of intuition and Rentschs notion of negativity and the transcendental conditions of life in order to describe a secular mysticism. Love is a core aspect of this mysticism since love protects singularity (Rentsch), sees potentials of development (Scheler) and can connect us with the world (Bergson).