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The Perfection of Freedom

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AED 386.02

The Perfection of Freedom seeks to respond to the impoverished conventional notion of freedom through a recovery of an understanding rich with possibilities yet all but forgotten in contemporary thought. This understanding, developed in different but complementary ways in the German thinkers Schiller, Schelling, and Hegel, connects freedom, not exclusively with power and possibility, but rather most fundamentally with completion, wholeness, and actuality. What is unique here is specifically the interpretation of freedom in terms of form, whether it be aesthetic form (Schiller), organic form (Schelling), or social form (Hegel). Although this book presents serious criticisms of the three philosophers, it shows that they open up new avenues for reflection on the notion of freedom; avenues that promise to overcome many of the dichotomies that continue to haunt contemporary thought--for example, between freedom and order, freedom and nature, and self and other. The Perfection of Freedom offers not only a significantly new interpretation of Schiller, Schelling, and Hegel, it also proposes a modernity more organically rooted in the ancient and classical Christian worlds. ""David Schindler has written a profound book on freedom. Through his penetrating analysis of Schiller, Schelling, and Hegel, he offers us nothing less than an alternative to the modern notion of freedom as freedom of choice . . . The Perfection of Freedom wears its erudition lightly in a compelling display of philosophical thinking and re-visioning that will take us beyond modernity by going through it."" --Cyril O'Regan, University of Notre Dame ""This is a work marked by impressive erudition and steady, lucid thoughtfulness about the nature of freedom as perfection . . . Schindler looks to some of the great thinkers of classical German philosophy: Schiller, Schelling, and Hegel in particular. The result is a very engaging and illuminating defense of a richer notion of freedom. The scholarship is impressively informed on the historical side, matched on the systematic side with sustained insight into the issues at stake."" --William Desmond, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven D. C. Schindler is Associate Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Humanities at Villanova University. He is the author of Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Dramatic Structure of Truth (2004) and Plato's Critique of Impure Reason (2008).


Customer Review


Very refreshing to find a current chapter or presentation on ...

Very refreshing to find a current chapter or presentation on Schelling's "Freedom Essay" that isn't mired post-modern theories. Yes, refreshing and a welcome alternative view from today's ususlly- radical academia.

by Mickey, August 1, 2017


brilliantly argued, and extremely well written

What can you say about this book, except that it is incredibly well researched, brilliantly argued, and extremely well written. The chapters on Schelling are the single best analyses of that much neglected philosopher's work now available, in my humble opinion. More importantly, this work hits the themes that are crucial for philosophy today: a more grounded view of freedom, and a more metaphysical view of matter.

by Stephen H. Webb, June 8, 2015


Excellent, Humane Alternative to My Freedom v. Your Freedom

The Perfection of Freedom is an excellent, extended argument for the merits of our modern (qua idealist) notion of freedom over the more widely accepted "individual-agency" notion of freedom. By tracing freedom back to its core, in how we perceive reality, Schindler presents us with a real alternative to rights-talk, and freedom as self-expression. This alternative is freedom as a reality in its own right--which we necessarily experience only together, never alone. This "real togetherness" is found and foundational in Schiller, Schelling and Hegel.To sum it up way too fast: Schiller's insight into how beauty itself teaches is based on a real togetherness between form and content in beautiful speech and noble (moral) living, Schelling's insight into the self-development of the organic (life) is based in the real-togetherness of subject and object in every instance of the living world, in matter itself--and Hegel's insight into the concretion of freedom in the "living institution" (the state) is based on the real-togetherness of the process of reason and the process of history. ...And for each of these authors the working out, or birthing, of that primary real-togetherness is the source and reality of all that we call freedom, and everything we ask for when we ask to be "set free."I have definitely not done justice to this thorough, and really well-argued book in that run-on. Suffice it to say Schindler goes very deep but also very fairly and comprehensively into each of the three authors he investigates, respecting the whole context of their work and finding his argument for freedom in them not in a distortion of them. It is real philosophy: clear, understandable, difficult.Anyone interested in learning something other than the post-modern: "going to pieces" from German Idealism could get a lot from this book. Its also a good introduction to what Schiller, Schelling and Hegel care most about throughout their work, but especially to Hegel. Even though the discussion of Hegel comes at the end of the book, his spirit is there from the beginning and it is through Hegel's rationality that we see Schiller's beautiful wholeness and Schelling's vivifying (life-giving) newness. The real togetherness of things and persons in being is at work in the argument, but the dialectic that lifts things up only by negating them is also at work. Its difficult to sort out. For Schindler--Schiller, Schelling and Hegel all present us with a more holistic, healthy and natural view of human freedom (freedom as something we do together, by nature--not some power or, really, nice feeling that we have). They give us a doorway to a more ancient, liberating vista, but they also all fall short of their own contributions. In fact they are always about to betray themselves.

by Rory C Scanlon, November 6, 2013

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