Philosophy of Schopenhauer

Philosophy of Schopenhauer

Dale Jacquette
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 320
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    Philosophy of Schopenhauer
    Book Description:

    Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) crafted one of the most unified philosophical systems by synthesizing Plato, Kant, and Asian religious traditions such as Buddhism and Hinduism into an encyclopedic worldview that combines the empirical science of his day with Eastern mysticism in a radically idealist metaphysics and epistemology. In The Philosophy of Schopenhauer, Dale Jacquette assesses Schopenhauer's philosophical enterprise and the astonishing implications it has for metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, aesthetics, logic, science, and religion. Jacquette analyses the central topics in Schopenhauer's philosophy, including his so-called pessimistic appraisal of the human condition, his examination of the concept of death, his dualistic analysis of free will, and his simplified non-Kantian theory of morality. His metaphysics of the world as representation and Will - his most important and controversial contribution - is discussed in depth. The legacy of Schopenhauer's ideas, in particular his influence on Nietzsche, who was first a follower and then an arch opponent, and the early Wittgenstein, is explored in the final chapter. This introduction makes even the most difficult of Schopenhauer's ideas accessible without sacrificing any of their complexity.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-8266-8
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-ix)
    Dale Jacquette
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. x-x)
  5. A note on texts and terminology
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  7. INTRODUCTION Schopenhauer’s life and times
    (pp. 1-10)

    Arthur Schopenhauer crafted one of the most comprehensive philosophical systems the world has ever seen - not that the world paid much attention, at least at first. Schopenhauer weaves together ideas of Plato, Kant and Asian religions into an encyclopedic worldview that combines the empirical science of his day with mystic wisdom in a radically idealist metaphysics and epistemology.

    The fundamental distinction in Schopenhauer’s philosophy marks a dualistic conception of the world as representation, as it appears to thought, and as thing-in-itself, considered independently of all concepts and categories of mind. Schopenhauer identifies thing-in-itself as Will, which he further characterizes...

  8. CHAPTER ONE Schopenhauer’s idealism
    (pp. 11-39)

    To open the first pages of Schopenhauer’s treatiseThe World as Will and Representationis to encounter an outrageous view of reality. We may easily be stunned into a sense of incredulity. Can Schopenhauer really be saying such things? Does he literally mean that the world of physical objects exists only in the mind?

    Schopenhauer tells us in no uncertain terms that the world we experience in sensation exists entirely in thought, that everyone on reflection already knows this and that the world begins with the awakening to consciousness of each individual mind and ends with each thinking being’s death....

  9. CHAPTER TWO Empirical knowledge of the world as representation: from natural science to transcendental metaphysics
    (pp. 40-70)

    It is only after Schopenhauer has explained the basic principles of his transcendental idealism that he turns, first, to the question of empirical knowledge of the world as representation, and secondly to thing-in-itself in the transcendental metaphysics of the world as Will. This order of topics is appropriate to Schopenhauer’s exposition, given his thesis that the only correct philosophical methodology is to begin, not with either the object, in the manner of pure materialists, nor with the subject, as in Fichte’s purely subjective idealism, but with representations that are theoretically analysable into interpresuppositional ontically inseparable subject and object. Schopenhauer is...

  10. CHAPTER THREE Willing and the world as Will
    (pp. 71-107)

    We now stand ready with Schopenhauer to cross over from the world as representation to thing-in-itself. Schopenhauer observes that no previous philosophers had been able to make progress with respect to understanding thing-in-itself, but have had to satisfy themselves with only negative characterizations of it as unknowable. They have thought of it only as something other than the world of phenomena, as noumena, in Kant’s critical idealist terminology, or that which lies beyond the veil of Maya.

    What shall we find on the other side? In one sense, we should have learned from Schopenhauer’s discussion of explanation in the world...

  11. CHAPTER FOUR Suffering, salvation, death, and renunciation of the will to life
    (pp. 108-144)

    The Will, Schopenhauer maintains, is hungry. This is its manifest character, evidenced in all its objectifications. We see it all around us in the strife and suffering that pervade every aspect of life, and even in the non-living material world. There is nothing in existence besides Will as thing-in-itself and its objectifications in the world as representation. The hungry Will, as a result, can only feed on itself. The restless blind urging of Will, its pure wanting without wanting this or that, keeps the physical universe in motion without any purpose or plan. Will as thing-in-itself is the hidden inner...

  12. CHAPTER FIVE Art and aesthetics of the beautiful and sublime
    (pp. 145-179)

    In Schopenhauer’s aesthetics we discover a lighter side of his philosophy. Although his moral pessimism continues unabated as a recognition of the inevitable conflicts among the Will’s objedifications, Schopenhauer is not as obsessively concerned with the facts of death and human misery when he turns to topics of aesthetic pleasure and enjoyment of the fine arts.

    Whether Schopenhauer’s metaphysics of Will as thing-in-itself is brilliant or delusional, the distinction between the world as Will and as representation supports a philosophy of art that is unique in the history of aesthetics. Schopenhauer’s theory is worth studying for two reasons, even if...

  13. CHAPTER SIX Transcendental freedom of Will
    (pp. 180-202)

    The individual thinking subject, like the world as a whole, has both an inner and outer aspect. There is a parallelism in Schopenhauer’s philosophy between, on the grand scale, the world as representation and thing-in-itself as Will, and, on the personal scale, the individual’s body and phenomenal will to life. The will to life also has a dual nature. It consists primarily of psychological episodes occurring in real space and time, as an overlay on a transcendent core of unmotivated, uncaused, objectless and hence subjectless, unindividuated and inexplicable pure willing. Pure willing is identical in each willing subject with Will...

  14. CHAPTER SEVEN Compassion as the philosophical foundation of morality
    (pp. 203-233)

    Schopenhauer’s “Prize Essay”,On the Basis of Morality,in fact won no prize. It was written in response to the Royal Danish Society of Scientific Studies competition, like the Norwegian prize essay contest on freedom of the will, on a topic concerning the psychology of moral reasoning. The essay question contains a lengthy preamble, the main thrust of which is to ask:

    Isthe source and foundation of morality to be looked forin an idea of morality which lies immediately in consciousness (or conscience), and in the analysis of the other principal notions of morality springing from this, or...

  15. CHAPTER EIGHT Schopenhauer’s legacy in the philosophy of Nietzsche, Heidegger and the early Wittgenstein
    (pp. 234-264)

    To his dismay, Schopenhauer’s philosophy was largely neglected during his lifetime. He did not obtain serious recognition for his ideas until relatively late in his career, and then only from a few enthusiastic but relatively uninfluential thinkers. His books were not well received and sold only a few copies, they were seldom and then almost always indifferently or unsympathetically reviewed, and they went out of print without his knowledge or permission. The scant recognition he finally began to receive toward the end of his life was not enough, and not timely enough, to satisfy him. Schopenhauer should have recognized in...

  16. Notes
    (pp. 265-280)
  17. Bibliography and recommended reading
    (pp. 281-290)
  18. Index
    (pp. 291-305)