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Dostoevsky's Crime and PunishmentPhilosophical Perspectives$
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Robert Guay

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190464011

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190464011.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 04 March 2021

Metaphysical Motivation

Metaphysical Motivation

Crime and Punishment in the Light of Schelling

(p.96) Chapter 4 Metaphysical Motivation
Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment

Sebastian Gardner

Oxford University Press

A defining characteristic of classical German philosophy is its preoccupation with the concept of freedom. One central moment in the post-Kantian debate concerning the metaphysical conditions of human freedom is Schelling’s assertion, in his 1809 essay, that these include the reality of evil. Human freedom is meaningful, Schelling argues, only if it comprises a choice between good and evil. On this basis Schelling rejects as inadequate the conception of autonomous agency found in Kant and Fichte, and restores human freedom to a theological setting. My aim in this chapter is to explore Schelling’s intriguing and provocative idea in the context of Crime and Punishment—in which, I suggest, Dostoevsky tries to show how and why autonomous agency, conceived in familiar late modern “Kantian” terms, discovers itself to have need of, and is forced to retrieve, a conception of evil that modern ethical thought takes itself to have surpassed.

Keywords:   motivation, Schelling, evil, freedom, Dostoevsky

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