Schelling, who Gare has pegged as a process philosopher rather than an idealist, developed his organic Naturphilosophie in the wake of Kant’s transcendental critique of metaphysics. Organism, for thinkers like Schelling, Whitehead, and Rosen, must be understood not as a special kind of entity contingently emergent from an inorganic Nature, but rather as a universal speculative principle characterizing Nature at both micro- and macrocosmic scales. Organism functions as a mediating concept integrating the modern dualisms of such seeming opposites as process v. substance, identity v. relationality, and body v. mind. In Kant’s Critique of Judgment, the dualism between Nature and freedom running throughout his system approached but did not finally achieve resolution in the idea of organism. Unlike merely mechanical Nature, which Kant argued could be understood according to efficient causes alone, living Nature displays a form of organization that remains inscrutable without the application of formal and final causation. A living organism is an incarnating idea working to maintain the rule of the whole over the parts (in this, organisms are analogous to Reason itself). Kant famously argued that mechanistic physics could never in principle explain the internal possibility of organic, that is, self-organizing, beings:
Efficient causes are progressive, while final causes are reciprocal. In the former the connection constitutes a series (the so-called causal chain) which is always such that the things which, as effects, presuppose other things as their causes cannot themselves also be causes of these other things. Final causes are that the series involves regressive as well as progressive dependency (a house is the cause of one’s receiving rent money, but the house was built in the first place so that one might receive such rent). Kant calls efficient causes a nexus of real ones and final causes a nexus of ideal ones. The former are also said to determine our knowledge of phenomena. He treats of efficient causation in the Second Analogy of Experience in the “Transcendental Analytic” of the , where he distinguishes between a subjective connection of cognitions and an objective connection of them. One walks into a warm room and sees a glowing stove. As far as the subjective order of cognitions is concerned, one first feels warm and only later spies the stove concealed behind a screen in the corner. But yet one says that it is the stove which causes the room to be warm and not that it is the warm room which causes the stove to glow. In order to have knowledge through perceptions, one must connect them in their objective time relations. There is no necessity in the subjective order of congnitions, but there certainly is in one’s synthetic reorganization of that order. If event A (glowing stove) precedes event B (warm room) objectively, then one must think of A as preceding B or else be wrong. It makes no difference whether one perceives A first and then B, or B first and then A in his subjective consciousness.