Chapter

Knowing the Thing in Itself

Christopher Janaway

in Self and World in Schopenhauer's Philosophy

Published in print July 1999 | ISBN: 9780198250036
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597817 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198250037.003.0008
 Knowing the Thing in Itself

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The central claim of Schopenhauer's metaphysics is that the thing in itself is will. He arrives at this by way of an observation about self‐knowledge: I can know myself only as willing or active, not as subject of knowledge. He claims that this unique knowledge gives access to my essence, and moves from this to the claim that the world in itself is will, of which the plurality of empirical things is an objectification. The chapter examines the problem of knowing the thing in itself at all. It is argued that Schopenhauer's conception of the thing in itself as will is a response to questions familiar in post‐Kantian philosophy, and there is a brief comparison with Schelling's conceptions of will and nature.

Keywords: metaphysics; objectification; Schelling; Schopenhauer; self‐knowledge; the will; thing in itself

Chapter.  7888 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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