Chapter

Misunderstanding Schopenhauer*

Bryan Magee

in The Philosophy of Schopenhauer

Published in print August 1997 | ISBN: 9780198237228
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191706233 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198237227.003.0021
Misunderstanding Schopenhauer*

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The commonest misunderstanding of Schopenhauer is that he taught, contradicting Kant, that we can have direct knowledge of the noumenon. Then there is the mistake that this noumenon is the will understood in a conative sense, the will as we experience it in agency, or the will to live, or the will to power. A careful reading of Schopenhauer's work is able to show that these are misinterpretations. He does not believe we can know the noumenon; and by ‘will’ he means a blind force that is as present in inorganic nature as elsewhere. It was an error on Schopenhauer's part to use the term ‘will’ in a way that invites these misunderstandings; but the damage has been done.

Keywords: force; misinterpretation; noumenon; Schopenhauer; the will; will to live; will to power

Chapter.  6891 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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