Article

Arthur Schopenhauer

Dale Jacquette

in Philosophy

ISBN: 9780195396577
Published online October 2014 | | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0250
Arthur Schopenhauer

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Arthur Schopenhauer (b. 1788–d. 1860) was a private scholar and philosopher. Although Schopenhauer was largely ignored by the professional academic philosophical community during his lifetime, he exerted increasing influence on German and international philosophy, literature, and the arts later in life and more profoundly after his death. Schopenhauer’s philosophy can be explained as a distinctly original synthesis of Kant, Plato, and Eastern thought, especially Hinduism and Buddhism. Schopenhauer understands his philosophy as the true heir of Kant’s critical idealism, on some parts of which Schopenhauer develops his own brand of post-Kantian transcendental idealism. The world for Schopenhauer has two aspects: the phenomenal world we experience in sensation and perception, and a transcendental world of Kantian Thing-in-itself, which Schopenhauer identifies with Will. The world as Will is pure willing, for Schopenhauer, in the sense that it is uncaused, undirected, unmotivated blind urging. The Will is willing without willing anything in particular, or for any particular reason, and even without any cause, while lacking all logical and mathematical properties. The world as Will, lacking any specific object, is inevitably objectified in the world as representation in conflict, strife, competition, opposition, and suffering. The world in reality, identified by Schopenhauer as Will, because it must be objectified in conflict, is seen by Schopenhauer philosophically, for this reason, from a technically pessimistic perspective. The Kantian distinction between the mind’s experiential world (Vorstellung) and Thing-in-itself, the world as it is in itself and independently of thought (Ding an sich), interpreted by Schopenhauer not as Kantian noumenon but knowable intuitively and supported by metaphysical reasoning as pure willing (der Wille), links together all the several parts of Schopenhauer’s philosophical system, like spokes from a wheel’s hub. Beginning with his epistemology and metaphysics, and proceeding systematically to his philosophy of science, logic and mathematics; philosophy of religion; philosophy of art; ethics, moral, and political philosophy, Schopenhauer encourages the image of a flower opening when he describes developing the several related parts of his philosophy as the progressive unfolding of a single idea.

Article.  8547 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art ; Epistemology ; Feminist Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Moral Philosophy ; Non-Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Language ; Philosophy of Law ; Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic ; Philosophy of Mind ; Philosophy of Religion ; Philosophy of Science ; Social and Political Philosophy

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