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As a consequence of his monistic philosophy, Schopenhauer was very concerned about the welfare of animals. The word "will" designated, for him, force, power, impulse, energy, and desire; it is the closest word we have that can signify both the real essence of all external things and also our own direct, inner experience. Since every living thing possesses will, then humans and animals are fundamentally the same and can recognize themselves in each other.

Compassion for animals is intimately associated with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to living creatures cannot be a good man. Nothing leads more definitely to a recognition of the identity of the essential nature in animal and human phenomena than a study of zoology and anatomy. The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.

Schopenhauer even went so far as to protest against the use of the pronoun "it" in reference to animals because it led to the treatment of them as though they were inanimate things. He was very attached to his succession of pet poodles. Schopenhauer criticized Spinoza's [] belief that animals are a mere means for the satisfaction of humans.

Self and World in Schopenhauer's Philosophy : Christopher Janaway :

In the third, expanded edition of The World as Will and Representation , Schopenhauer added an appendix to his chapter on the Metaphysics of Sexual Love. He wrote that pederasty did have the benefit of preventing ill-begotten children. Concerning this, he stated that "the vice we are considering appears to work directly against the aims and ends of nature, and that in a matter that is all important and of the greatest concern to her it must in fact serve these very aims, although only indirectly, as a means for preventing greater evils". I have done so by giving them the opportunity of slandering me by saying that I defend and commend pederasty.

He was so impressed by their philosophy that he called them "the production of the highest human wisdom", and believed they contained superhuman concepts. The Upanishads was a great source of inspiration to Schopenhauer. Writing about them, he said:. It is the most satisfying and elevating reading with the exception of the original text which is possible in the world; it has been the solace of my life and will be the solace of my death.

The book Oupnekhat Upanishad always lay open on his table, and he invariably studied it before sleeping at night. He called the opening up of Sanskrit literature "the greatest gift of our century" and predicted that the philosophy and knowledge of the Upanishads would become the cherished faith of the West. Schopenhauer was first introduced to the Latin Upanishad translation through Friedrich Majer. They met during the winter of — in Weimar at the home of Schopenhauer's mother according to the biographer Safranski.

Majer was a follower of Herder , and an early Indologist.

Schopenhauer did not begin a serious study of the Indic texts, however, until the summer of Safranski maintains that between and , Schopenhauer had another important cross-pollination with Indian thought in Dresden. This was through his neighbor of two years, Karl Christian Friedrich Krause. Krause was then a minor and rather unorthodox philosopher who attempted to mix his own ideas with that of ancient Indian wisdom.

Krause had also mastered Sanskrit , unlike Schopenhauer, and the two developed a professional relationship. It was from Krause that Schopenhauer learned meditation and received the closest thing to expert advice concerning Indian thought. Schopenhauer noted a correspondence between his doctrines and the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism. Thus three of the four "truths of the Buddha" correspond to Schopenhauer's doctrine of the will. For Schopenhauer, will had ontological primacy over the intellect.


  • Arthur Schopenhauer.
  • Self and world in Schopenhauer's philosophy (Computer file, ) [cusufsofoot.tk].
  • Geometric Greece: 900–700 BC.
  • Self and World in Schopenhauer's Philosophy by Christopher Janaway.

In other words, desire is prior to thought. If I wished to take the results of my philosophy as the standard of truth, I should have to concede to Buddhism pre-eminence over the others. In any case, it must be a pleasure to me to see my doctrine in such close agreement with a religion that the majority of men on earth hold as their own, for this numbers far more followers than any other.

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And this agreement must be yet the more pleasing to me, inasmuch as in my philosophizing I have certainly not been under its influence [emphasis added]. For up till , when my work appeared, there was to be found in Europe only a very few accounts of Buddhism. Buddhist philosopher Nishitani Keiji , however, sought to distance Buddhism from Schopenhauer. This actual world of what is knowable, in which we are and which is in us, remains both the material and the limit of our consideration. The argument that Buddhism affected Schopenhauer's philosophy more than any other Dharmic faith loses more credence when viewed in light of the fact that Schopenhauer did not begin a serious study of Buddhism until after the publication of The World as Will and Representation in They are included in a recent case study that traces Schopenhauer's interest in Buddhism and documents its influence.

Some traditions in Western esotericism and parapsychology interested Schopenhauer and influenced his philosophical theories. He praised animal magnetism as evidence for the reality of magic in his On the Will in Nature , and went so far as to accept the division of magic into left-hand and right-hand magic , although he doubted the existence of demons. Schopenhauer grounded magic in the Will and claimed all forms of magical transformation depended on the human Will, not on ritual. This theory notably parallels Aleister Crowley 's system of magick and its emphasis on human will.

Neoplatonism , including the traditions of Plotinus and to a lesser extent Marsilio Ficino , has also been cited as an influence on Schopenhauer.


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  6. In his student years Schopenhauer went more often to lectures in the sciences than philosophy. He kept a strong interest as his personal library contained near to books of scientific literature at his death, and his works refer to scientific titles not found in the library. Many evenings were spent in the theatre, opera and ballet; the operas of Mozart , Rossini and Bellini were especially esteemed.

    As a polyglot, the philosopher knew German , Italian , Spanish , French , English, Latin and ancient Greek , and he was an avid reader of poetry and literature. If Goethe had not been sent into the world simultaneously with Kant in order to counterbalance him, so to speak, in the spirit of the age, the latter would have been haunted like a nightmare many an aspiring mind and would have oppressed it with great affliction.

    But now the two have an infinitely wholesome effect from opposite directions and will probably raise the German spirit to a height surpassing even that of antiquity. In philosophy, his most important influences were, according to himself, Kant, Plato and the Upanishads. If the reader has also received the benefit of the Vedas, the access to which by means of the Upanishads is in my eyes the greatest privilege which this still young century may claim before all previous centuries, if then the reader, I say, has received his initiation in primeval Indian wisdom, and received it with an open heart, he will be prepared in the very best way for hearing what I have to tell him.

    Schopenhauer - On the Suffering of the World - A Philosophical Glimpse

    It will not sound to him strange, as to many others, much less disagreeable; for I might, if it did not sound conceited, contend that every one of the detached statements which constitute the Upanishads, may be deduced as a necessary result from the fundamental thoughts which I have to enunciate, though those deductions themselves are by no means to be found there.

    Schopenhauer saw Bruno and Spinoza as unique philosophers who were not bound to their age or nation.

    Schopenhauer on Self, World and Morality

    Consequently, there is no place for God as creator of the world in their philosophy, but God is the world itself. Schopenhauer expressed his regret that Spinoza stuck for the presentation of his philosophy with the concepts of scholasticism and Cartesian philosophy , and tried to use geometrical proofs that do not hold because of the vagueness and wideness of the definitions. It is the common preference of philosophers of abstraction over perception. Bruno on the other hand, who knew much about nature and ancient literature, presents his ideas with Italian vividness, and is amongst philosophers the only one who comes near Plato's poetic and dramatic power of exposition.

    Schopenhauer noted that their philosophies do not provide any ethics, and it is therefore very remarkable that Spinoza called his main work Ethics. In fact, it could be considered complete from the standpoint of life-affirmation, if one completely ignores morality and self-denial. The importance of Kant for Schopenhauer, in philosophy as well as on a personal level, can hardly be overstated.

    The philosophy of Kant was the foundation of his own. Schopenhauer maintained that Kant stands in the same relation to philosophers such as Berkeley and Plato , as Copernicus to Hicetas , Philolaus , and Aristarchus : Kant succeeded in demonstrating what previous philosophers merely asserted. In his study room one bust was of Buddha , the other was of Kant. Schopenhauer dedicated one fifth of his main work, The World as Will and Representation , to a criticism of the Kantian philosophy.

    The leading figures of post-Kantian philosophy , Fichte, Schelling and Hegel, were not respected by Schopenhauer. He argued that they were not philosophers at all, for they lacked "the first requirement of a philosopher, namely a seriousness and honesty of inquiry.

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    All this explains the painful impression with which we are seized when, after studying genuine thinkers, we come to the writings of Fichte and Schelling, or even to the presumptuously scribbled nonsense of Hegel, produced as it was with a boundless, though justified, confidence in German stupidity. With those genuine thinkers one always found an honest investigation of truth and just as honest an attempt to communicate their ideas to others. Therefore whoever reads Kant, Locke, Hume, Malebranche, Spinoza, and Descartes feels elevated and agreeably impressed.

    This is produced through communion with a noble mind which has and awakens ideas and which thinks and sets one thinking. The reverse of all this takes place when we read the above-mentioned three German sophists. An unbiased reader, opening one of their books and then asking himself whether this is the tone of a thinker wanting to instruct or that of a charlatan wanting to impress, cannot be five minutes in any doubt; here everything breathes so much of dishonesty. Schelling was deemed the most talented of the three, and Schopenhauer wrote that he would recommend his "elucidatory paraphrase of the highly important doctrine of Kant" concerning the intelligible character, if he had been honest enough to admit he was showing off with the thoughts of Kant, instead of hiding this relation in a cunning manner.

    Schopenhauer reserved his most unqualified damning condemnation for G. Hegel , whom he considered unworthy even of Fichte and Schelling. Whereas Fichte was merely a windbag, Hegel was a "commonplace, inane, loathsome, repulsive, and ignorant charlatan. Schopenhauer had a large posthumous effect and remained the most influential German philosopher until the First World War.

    His legacy shaped the intellectual debate, and forced movements that were utterly opposed to him, neo-Kantianism and positivism , to address issues they would otherwise have completely ignored, and in doing so he changed them markedly. But most of all Schopenhauer is famous for his influence on artists. Richard Wagner became one of the earliest and most famous adherents of the Schopenhauerian philosophy. Under the influence of Schopenhauer Leo Tolstoy became convinced that the truth of all religions lies in self-renunciation.