The Indivisible Remainder An Essay On Schelling And Related Matters

The feature which distinguishes the great works of materialist thought, from Lucretius’ De rerum natura through Capital to the writings of Lacan, is their unfinished character: again and again they tackle their chosen problem. Schelling’s Weltalter drafts belong to this same series, with their repeated attempt at the formulation of the ‘beginning of the world,’ of the passage from the pre-symbolic pulsation of the Real to the universe of logos.

F.W.J. Schelling, the German idealist who for too long dwelled in the shadow of Kant and Hegel, was the first to formulate the post-idealist motifs of finitude, contingency and temporality. His unique work announces Marx's critique of speculative idealism, as well as the properly Freudian notion of drive, of a blind compulsion to repeat which can never be sublated in the ideal medium of language.

The Indivisible Remainder begins with a detailed examination of the two works in which Schelling's speculative audacity reached its peak: his essay on human freedom and his drafts on the “Ages of the World.” After reconstituting their line of argumentation, Slavoj Žižek confronts Schelling with Hegel, and concludes by throwing a Schellingian light on some “related matters”: the consequences of the computerization of daily life for sexual experience; cynicism as today's predominant form of ideology; the epistemological deadlocks of quantum physics.

Although the book is packed with examples from politics and popular culture — the unmistakable token of Žižek’s style — from Speed and Groundhog Day to Forrest Gump, it signals a major shift towards a systematic concern with the basic questions of philosophy and the roots of the crisis of our late-capitalist universe, centred around the enigma of modern subjectivity.

“Zizek leaves no social or natural phenomenon untheorized, and is a master of the counter-intuitive observation.”

New Yorker

“The most formidably brilliant exponent of psychoanalysis, indeed of cultural theory in general, to have emerged in some decades.”

– Terry Eagleton

“The Elvis of cultural theory.”

Chronicle of Higher Education

Slavoj Žižek's thinking is a fusion of elements from German idealism, Marx and Lacan. Using Jacques Lacan's psychoanalytic theory in order to reactualize the dialectical method of German idealism, Žižek has reinvigorated a dialectical materialist critique of the ideology of global liberal capitalism. One of Žižek's most theoretically speculative books is The Indivisible Remainder: On Schelling and Related Matters (1996, 2007). In Indivisible, Žižek clarifies his version of dialectical materialism by investigating F. W. J. von Schelling's struggle in Die Weltalter [The Ages of the World] to mediate the contradiction in metaphysics between idealism and materialism. Kant left to his German …

Citation:
Wood, Kelsey. "The Indivisible Remainder: On Schelling and Related Matters". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 13 January 2010
[https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=23505, accessed 14 March 2018.]


23505The Indivisible Remainder: On Schelling and Related Matters3Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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