Despite considerable recent attention, important features of Schelling’s famous work, the 1809 treatise On the Essence of Human Freedom , remain underexplored. One of these is the methodological dualism which Schelling advocates at the very start of the text. Schelling aims to weld together into a coherent position a first-person phenomenology of freedom and an explanation achieved by locating freedom within a conceptual system articulating the basic structure of the world. Most interpretations of the Freiheitsschrift , however, concentrate on only one of these approaches, thus foreshortening their understanding of Schelling’s enterprise. The article explores this tendency towards one-sidedness by considering two sophisticated recent interpretations of the work which take opposite tacks. One, by Markus Gabriel, focuses on the distinctive, self-reflexive metaphysics which Schelling proposes, while the other, by Sebastian Gardner, claims that Schelling’s ontology is extrapolated entirely from his account of our moral consciousness, a procedure pioneered by Kant. The article argues that neither of these interpretations can do full justice to Schelling’s project. Furthermore, although the Freiheitsschrift is not entirely successful and hence points towards later developments in Schelling’s thinking, its treatment of freedom is superior to the ‘soft naturalism’ pioneered by Peter Strawson, and currently influential across various philosophical traditions.