Having gone through the works published in his lifetime, I'd invite any questions and opinions about him and his philosophy.
Please restrict discussion to Schopenhauer and his predecessors.
SOME SURPRISES: 1) Schopenhauer accepts that there might be more than just the will-in-itself and its appearance (the latter being the world as representation); he allows that there might be an aspect to being-in-itself that has nothing to do with willing - an aspect that therefore has no relation to the will-in-itself or to our spatiotemporally known universe. This other is "relative nothing," and it is plausibly the destination of those individuals who deny the will-to-live, who renounce the miserable world of representation and its underlying will-in-itself, and who thus will not be remanifested in a new worldly incarnation upon their death, but will be released from all willing and all representation. (But since this "relative nothing" has no connection with the universe or with its underlying will, we can't fully apply the concepts "is," "be," "destination," "it," to this "relative nothing.")
2) Schopenhauer is quite open about the limits of his philosophical system. Especially in his chapter on "Epiphilosophy," Schopenhauer says that some questions can be asked, but will remain forever unanswerable. For example: "Why does the multiplicity of human individuals show a diversity of moral dispositions from person to person, when all human characters are manifestations of a single, undifferentiated, metaphysically identical will-in-itself?" "Why would being-in-itself be spurned into the original error of willing - into the primal mistake of the will-in-itself, which manifests in space and time as this miserable existence, this self-cannibalizing natural world, this tragicomedy of human delusion, which displays its fundamental wrongfulness via the inevitability of disappointment and death - rather than remain eternally at peace?"
Do you have that quote he said on his death bead about women?
Schopenhauer fails to see the dhamma. he fails to infer that from life sucks, the sole solution is to strive for more acceptance+equanimity towards what he feels and thinks. that what he feels and thinks is not relevant to be happy. This shows that no rationalism is systematic. The systematic way to see the dhamma is through contemplation, then on meditation on your failure to escape the misery of being alive, then on more contemplation to establish irreversibly the equanimity+benevolence.
I really think he was just conflicted on whether attempting to reject the will or accepting it as the lord of all worlds.
Besides that he was an intelligent man that found warmth within himself and wrote a few good reads.
How can I justify killing myself to my friends using Schopenhauer's philosophy?
He didn't believe it was worth it to kill yourself as long as you had music.
According to Schopenhauer, people commit suicide because they are dedicated to living a life free from extreme suffering (that is, they affirm the will-to-live), and when their situation no longer allows them to live without extreme suffering, they instead end their life; so strong is their commitment to a life free from suffering that if they can't have it, they choose to die.a
But by affirming the will-to-live in this way, they unwittingly ensure that, upon their death, their underlying force of will shall remanifest in the world of representation, the domain of life - and thus their fundamental self has not escaped confrontation with the suffering of existence, but has only postponed it.
The only way to break this cycle is for the individual's will to intellectually recognize - to be illuminated by knowledge - that the physical domain of life is essentially unsatisfactory, is an unfixable disappointment, and is not worth desiring. With this insight, the individual's will recoils from the world-as-representation - and since the being-in-itself of the world-as-representation is the will-in-itself, the individual's will recoils from itself. The individual's will abolishes itself, ensuring its release from the vicious cycle of willing life.
This is the denial of the will-to-live, which appears in space and time as the human who embraces suffering, lives ascetically, behaves with self-sacrificial compassion, and awaits death.
> as long as you had music
He includes other forms of art too; any type of aesthetic contemplation (and even philosophical contemplation) can offer a temporary release from the pains of willing. The only unique thing about music, he claims, is that it is a direct manifestation of the will-in-itself, rather than an exhibition of the will-in-itself through the medium of images.
3) Schopenhauer accepts final causality throughout nature, despite rejecting any belief in an intelligent designer beyond nature. For him, the teleological appropriateness of an organism, by which every part of the organism operates as if crafted for the maintenance of the life of the whole, is ultimately due to the fact that the organism is an appearance of the undifferentiated, metaphysically identical will-in-itself; though the blind will-in-itself appears broken up in the phenomenal forms of space and time, manifesting as the organism's different body parts and separate actions, the original unity of the will-in-itself is retained as whole living function of the organism's coordinated parts. This is the case for every individual organism, and throughout nature; even habitats are blindly accommodated to the species that live there, and at the same time these species are accommodated to their environments, because all of nature is only the appearance of a simple, omnipotent restlessness that wills without knowing it.
Schopenhauer even plays with the notion that, apart from the internal teleology among the parts of organisms and the external teleology among whole organisms and their environments, the world-as-representation might be directed towards a wholly different kind of "goal." By means of the universal dissatisfaction and agony displayed in it, the universe might display that its final goal is to be abolished, negated by the collective denial of the will-to-live by all members of humanity, by which the original error of existence, the metaphysical imbalance that appears as this world of impermanence and predation and delusion, will be corrected, neutralized, leaving only the unintelligible serenity of "relative nothing."
Who was he most influenced by aside from Kant?
What Greek or Roman philosopher is closest to his philosophy?
Hoping i'm not off your grid here but,
What were his main criticism to Hegel concept-wise, aside from him being a "colossal mystification" ?
So it's a rip off of buddhism?
>Who was he most influenced by aside from Kant
He would say Plato. Cabanis was also a strong influence that he admitted - I expect he got much of his physiological ideas about the physical brain and its intellectual functions from Cabanis, though I haven't read the latter.
He claimed that he landed upon his fundamental philosophical insight before he encountered eastern religious philosophies. Assuming this is true, the development and elaboration of this system was influenced by the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita, and by studies of Hindu and Buddhist thought that were published in his day (I don't recall him citing primary Buddhist sources).
But it can be hard to identify many of his influences, because he studied so much; one of the characteristics of his writing that stood out to me from the beginning was how many quotes and sources he cites, time after time, and from many different languages. His books are a pretty incredible resource for discovering texts and writers.
> What Greek or Roman philosopher is closest to his philosophy?
Aside from Plato (whose philosophy is still massively different from Schopenhauer's), Stoics like Seneca and Epictetus are quoted pretty often to show their agreement with Schopenhauer's claims about the insatiability of desire and the need to reconcile ourselves with suffering - though Schopenhauer didn't ultimately accept their moral system, with its emphasis on rationality as the means to virtue and its equivalence of virtue with happiness.
Also, he's is just as likely to quote Homer or Sophocles in support of his system, especially since Schopenhauer thought that art (particularly poetry) reveals the world more objectively and impartially, more in its natural essences, than does the ordinary state of knowledge in which individuals seek their more limited, momentary, and subjective goals.
Unexpectedly for me, Jesus was the figure who was probably closest to his moral philosophy. Schopenhauer revered him.
I was interested to read some substantive criticisms of Hegel - along with Fichte and Schelling, Schopenhauer's other favorite punching bags - since Schopenhauer's reputation seemed more to be that of someone who merely insulted Hegel and his writings without legitimately criticizing them.
Firstly, it should be noted that Schopenhauer's system gives a bit more legitimacy to his ad hominem attacks against Hegel; Schopenhauer claims that Hegel was motivated by desires for fame, a university salary, and government approval, and that to these goals he sacrificed any interest in truth - but in Schopenhauer's view, the existence of most people is wholly determined by the desires and impulses of their individual wills, since the will-in-itself is primary, and knowledge is only secondary and subservient to it. So more offering a meagre ad hominem, he does have some grounds for accusing Hegel, along with most academics and most of humanity, of being compromised to the detriment of philosophical insight.
But that rationale alone would be a severely underwhelming criticism of Hegel's philosophy, even though the excessive bulk of Schopenhauer's writings against Hegel consists of such accusations and insults. Scattered throughout his books, you'll find more substantive criticisms like these:
- The Hegelian Absolute is just a disguised cosmological argument, and his system as a whole is just a reformulated ontological argument, both of which Kant refuted
- Hegel has an incorrect view of the proper relation between empirical reality, which is known by the understanding in perception, and concepts, which are thought by reason in the abstract. In truth, concepts are abstracted from empirical perceptions, and must always refer back to empirical reality to ensure their reliability - or else they can be combined at whim and fictitiously. Hegel, however, erroneously makes abstract concepts primary, and attempts to explain the materialization of the physical, empirical universe from them.
- Any attributes that are logically negated of a thing cannot be real constituents of that thing; Hegel adopted from Spinoza the principle that "all determination is negation," but they both misunderstood that empirical reality is what decides whether logical concepts have been properly abstracted, combined, and applied - empirical reality is not subordinate to any play of concepts.
- Hegel uses concepts that have been so highly abstracted that they retain barely any content to be thought of - he then combines such concepts in torturous patterns that confuse and exhaust the mind rather than enlighten it, and in this way encouraged a damaging precedent of philosophical method.
- History is composed of the actions of individuals, and from this empirical basis we draw the concepts of nations and eras as abstractions; these abstractions do not determine the course of history.
- More specifically, Hegel commits the fallacy of affirming the consequent while discussing weight and magnetism in section 293 his Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences; that he misunderstands the law of inertia in section 296, thinking that gravitation contradicts it; and that he falsely suggests in section 298 that matter is perishable, rather than conserved in the universe.
Many thanks to you for this synthesis ! Set things straight. Coming from a long route of hegeliano-marxism, Schope seems a good way for me to shake some flies off my shell. Do you have any advice for a first read, or should i just go rawdog on his sweet german weltanschauung ?
Also, being a connoisseur and all, would you agree that Schope kind of influenced someone like Wittgenstein ?
I'd say follow his advice; be familiar with Plato, very familiar with Kant, and read some Hindu scriptures. Then read his works chronologically; if you want only the essentials, read Fourfold Root, World as Will and Representation 1, Will in Nature, Essay on the Freedom of the Will, and World as Will and Representation 2.
The essays and aphorisms typically taken from Parerga and Paralipomena (Suffering of the World, Vanity of Existence, Religion, Suicide, etc.) are well known and worth reading, but their basic content is already contained in the essential works I cited above. More revealing selections would be "Essay on Spirit Seeing," "Ideas Concerning the Intellect," and "On Philosophy and Natural Science."
As for Wittgenstein, I haven't read him in detail yet, so I can't really say - but there seem to be a bunch of articles pointing to an influence that Schopenhauer had on him.
Similar, probably influenced in important ways - but I don't think this qualifies it as a rip off. Especially given the western philosophical elements that would be foreign to Buddhism.
Schopenhauer thought that Buddhism (along with Hinduism) was largely true, because its doctrines agreed so much with the conclusions that western philosophy had come to in his own time and place, though by a different route.
schopen 'The Story of Philosophy' by Bryan Magee
>Schopenhauer thought that Buddhism (along with Hinduism) was largely true, because its doctrines agreed so much with the conclusions that western philosophy had come to in his own time and place, though by a different route. they have the same conclusions, but the westerners do not find the solution.
To some extent western philosophers coming to those conclusions was due to Greek philosophers traveling east with Alexander and meeting with Buddhists and others and then bringing those ideas back to Greece and starting the Cynics and other groups that were influenced a lot by what they learning in the east.
That solution being what? Not sure if you're (whose writing I didn't find very clear).