Abstract

Balancing Acts: Modes of Equilibrium in Romanticism and Nature Philosophy around 1800

This paper explores the concept of equilibrium around 1800, to understand its use, and to trace the different ways in which Schelling’s positioning of equilibrium at the beginning of reflection transforms a commonplace scientific concept into a philosophically powerful one. Focusing on the early nature philosophy of Schelling and Eschenmayer and the aphorisms of Novalis around 1800—before turning to Eschenmayer’s later work on psychology from 1814—these readings concentrate on two related tendencies in the discussion on equilibrium: the first relating to its ability to move between the immaterial and the material, the second relating to questions of visibility that such movement entails.