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Academic philosophers were also starting to notice his work. Schopenhauer seemed flattered and amused by this, and would claim that it was his first chapel. People visited Frankfurt's Englischer Hof to observe him dining. Admirers gave him gifts and asked for autographs. He remained healthy in his old age, which he attributed to regular walks no matter the weather, and always getting enough sleep. In the spring of his health started to decline, he experienced shortness of breath and heart palpitations; in September he suffered inflammation of the lungs and although he was starting to recover he remained very weak.
He was Schopenhauer saw his philosophy as a continuation of that of Kant, and used the results of his epistemological investigations, that is, transcendental idealism , as starting point for his own:. My philosophy is founded on that of Kant, and therefore presupposes a thorough knowledge of it.
Kant's teaching produces in the mind of everyone who has comprehended it a fundamental change which is so great that it may be regarded as an intellectual new-birth. It alone is able really to remove the inborn realism which proceeds from the original character of the intellect, which neither Berkeley nor Malebranche succeed in doing, for they remain too much in the universal, while Kant goes into the particular, and indeed in a way that is quite unexampled both before and after him, and which has quite a peculiar, and, we might say, immediate effect upon the mind in consequence of which it undergoes a complete undeception, and forthwith looks at all things in another light.
Only in this way can anyone become susceptible to the more positive expositions which I have to give. Kant had argued the empirical world is merely a complex of appearances whose existence and connection occur only in our representations. Schopenhauer praises Kant for his distinction between appearance and the things-in-themselves that appear, whereas the general consensus in German Idealism was that this was the weakest spot of Kant's theory,  since according to Kant causality can find application on objects of experience only, and consequently, things-in-themselves cannot be the cause of appearances, as Kant argued.
The inadmissibility of this reasoning was also acknowledged by Schopenhauer. He insisted that this distinction was a true conclusion, drawn from false premises. Although Schopenhauer considered colour theory a minor matter,  he accepted the invitation out of admiration for Goethe. Nevertheless, these investigations led him to his most important discovery in epistemology: finding a demonstration for the a priori nature of causality. Kant openly admitted that it was Hume 's skeptical assault on causality that motivated the critical investigations of Critique of Pure Reason.
In it, he gives an elaborate proof to show that causality is given a priori.
After G. Schulze had made it plausible that Kant had not disproven Hume's skepticism, it was up to those loyal to the project of Kant to prove this important matter. The difference between the approach of Kant and Schopenhauer was this: Kant simply declared that the empirical content of perception is "given" to us from outside, an expression with which Schopenhauer often expressed his dissatisfaction. The sensations in the hand of a man born blind, on feeling an object of cubic shape, are quite uniform and the same on all sides and in every direction: the edges, it is true, press upon a smaller portion of his hand, still nothing at all like a cube is contained in these sensations.
His Understanding, however, draws the immediate and intuitive conclusion from the resistance felt, that this resistance must have a cause, which then presents itself through that conclusion as a hard body; and through the movements of his arms in feeling the object, while the hand's sensation remains unaltered, he constructs the cubic shape in Space. If the representation of a cause and of Space, together with their laws, had not already existed within him, the image of a cube could never have proceeded from those successive sensations in his hand.
Causality is therefore not an empirical concept drawn from objective perceptions, but objective perception presupposes knowledge of causality. Hereby Hume's skepticism is disproven. By this intellectual operation, comprehending every effect in our sensory organs as having an external cause, the external world arises.
With vision, finding the cause is essentially simplified due to light acting in straight lines. We are seldom conscious of the process that interprets the double sensation in both eyes as coming from one object; that turns the upside down impression, and that adds depth to make from the planimetrical data stereometrical perception with distance between objects. Schopenhauer stresses the importance of the intellectual nature of perception; the senses furnish the raw material by which the intellect produces the world as representation. Schopenhauer developed a system called metaphysical voluntarism.
The kernel and chief point of my doctrine, its Metaphysic proper, is this, that what Kant opposed as thing-in-itself to mere appearance called more decidedly by me "representation" and what he held to be absolutely unknowable, that this thing-in-itself , I say, this substratum of all appearances, and therefore of the whole of Nature, is nothing but what we know directly and intimately and find within ourselves as will ; that accordingly, this will , far from being inseparable from, and even a mere result of, knowledge, differs radically and entirely from, and is quite independent of, knowledge, which is secondary and of later origin; and can consequently subsist and manifest itself without knowledge: that this will, being the one and only thing-in-itself, the sole truly real, primary, metaphysical thing in a world in which everything else is only appearance, i.
For Schopenhauer, human desire was futile, illogical, directionless, and, by extension, so was all human action in the world. Einstein paraphrased his views as follows: "Man can indeed do what he wants, but he cannot will what he wants. To Schopenhauer, the Will is a blind force that controls not only the actions of individual, intelligent agents, but ultimately all observable phenomena—an evil to be terminated via mankind's duties: asceticism and chastity.
For Schopenhauer, human desiring, "willing", and craving cause suffering or pain. A temporary way to escape this pain is through aesthetic contemplation a method comparable to Zapffe 's " Sublimation ". Aesthetic contemplation allows one to escape this pain—albeit temporarily—because it stops one perceiving the world as mere presentation.
Instead, one no longer perceives the world as an object of perception therefore as subject to the Principle of Sufficient Grounds; time, space and causality from which one is separated; rather one becomes one with that perception: "one can thus no longer separate the perceiver from the perception" The World as Will and Representation , section From this immersion with the world one no longer views oneself as an individual who suffers in the world due to one's individual will but, rather, becomes a "subject of cognition" to a perception that is "Pure, will-less, timeless" section 34 where the essence, "ideas", of the world are shown.
Music, for Schopenhauer, was the purest form of art because it was the one that depicted the will itself without it appearing as subject to the Principle of Sufficient Grounds, therefore as an individual object. According to Daniel Albright , "Schopenhauer thought that music was the only art that did not merely copy ideas, but actually embodied the will itself".
He deemed music a timeless, universal language comprehended everywhere, that can imbue global enthusiasm, if in possession of a significant melody.
Schopenhauer's realist views on mathematics are evident in his criticism of the contemporaneous attempts to prove the parallel postulate in Euclidean geometry. Writing shortly before the discovery of hyperbolic geometry demonstrated the logical independence of the axiom —and long before the general theory of relativity revealed that it does not necessarily express a property of physical space—Schopenhauer criticized mathematicians for trying to use indirect concepts to prove what he held was directly evident from intuitive perception.
The Euclidean method of demonstration has brought forth from its own womb its most striking parody and caricature in the famous controversy over the theory of parallels , and in the attempts, repeated every year, to prove the eleventh axiom also known as the fifth postulate. The axiom asserts, and that indeed through the indirect criterion of a third intersecting line, that two lines inclined to each other for this is the precise meaning of "less than two right angles" , if produced far enough, must meet.
Now this truth is supposed to be too complicated to pass as self-evident, and therefore needs a proof; but no such proof can be produced, just because there is nothing more immediate. Throughout his writings,  Schopenhauer criticized the logical derivation of philosophies and mathematics from mere concepts, instead of from intuitive perceptions.
In fact, it seems to me that the logical method is in this way reduced to an absurdity. But it is precisely through the controversies over this, together with the futile attempts to demonstrate the directly certain as merely indirectly certain, that the independence and clearness of intuitive evidence appear in contrast with the uselessness and difficulty of logical proof, a contrast as instructive as it is amusing.
The direct certainty will not be admitted here, just because it is no merely logical certainty following from the concept, and thus resting solely on the relation of predicate to subject, according to the principle of contradiction. But that eleventh axiom regarding parallel lines is a synthetic proposition a priori , and as such has the guarantee of pure, not empirical, perception; this perception is just as immediate and certain as is the principle of contradiction itself, from which all proofs originally derive their certainty.
At bottom this holds good of every geometrical theorem Although Schopenhauer could see no justification for trying to prove Euclid's parallel postulate, he did see a reason for examining another of Euclid's axioms. It surprises me that the eighth axiom,  "Figures that coincide with one another are equal to one another", is not rather attacked. For "coinciding with one another" is either a mere tautology , or something quite empirical , belonging not to pure intuition or perception, but to external sensuous experience. Thus it presupposes mobility of the figures, but matter alone is movable in space.
Consequently, this reference to coincidence with one another forsakes pure space, the sole element of geometry , in order to pass over to the material and empirical. This follows Kant 's reasoning. The task of ethics is not to prescribe moral actions that ought to be done, but to investigate moral actions.
Philosophy is always theoretical: its task to explain what is given. According to Kant's teaching of transcendental idealism, space and time are forms of our sensibility due to which phenomena appear in multiplicity. Reality in itself is free from all multiplicity, not in the sense that an object is one, but that it is outside the possibility of multiplicity. From this follows that two individuals, though they appear as distinct, are in-themselves not distinct.
The appearances are entirely subordinated to the principle of sufficient reason. The egoistic individual who focuses his aims completely on his own interests has therefore to deal with empirical laws as well as he can. What is relevant for ethics are individuals who can act against their own self-interest. If we take for example a man who suffers when he sees his fellow men living in poverty, and consequently uses a significant part of his income to support their needs instead his own pleasures, then the simplest way to describe this is that he makes less distinction between himself and others than is usually made.
Regarding how the things appear to us, the egoist is right to assert the gap between two individuals, but the altruist experiences the sufferings of others as his own. In the same way a compassionate man cannot hurt animals, though they appear as distinct from himself. What motivates the altruist is compassion.
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The suffering of others is for him not a cold matter to which he is indifferent, but he feels connected to all beings. Compassion is thus the basis of morality. Schopenhauer calls the principle through which multiplicity appears the principium individuationis. When we behold nature we see that it is a cruel battle for existence. Individual manifestations of the will can maintain themselves only at the expense of others—the will, as the only thing that exists, has no other option but to devour itself to experience pleasure.
This is a fundamental characteristic of the will, and cannot be circumvented. Unlike temporal, or human justice, which requires time to repay an evil deed and, "has its seat in the state, as requiting and punishing. There are no delays or reprieves. Instead, punishment is tied the offence, "to the point where the two become one. The [Tormenter] errs in that he believes he is not a partaker in the suffering; the [tormented], in that he believes he is not a partaker in the guilt.
Suffering is the moral retribution of our attachment to pleasure. Schopenhauer deemed that this truth was expressed by Christian dogma of original sin and in Eastern religions with the dogma of rebirth. He who sees through the principium individuationis and comprehends suffering in general as his own, will see suffering everywhere, and instead of using all his force to fight for the happiness of his individual manifestation, he will abhor life itself, of which he knows how inseparably it is connected with suffering. A happy individual life midst a world of suffering is for him like a beggar who dreams one night that he is a king.
Those who have experienced this intuitive knowledge can no longer affirm life, but will exhibit asceticism and quietism, meaning that they are no longer sensitive to motives, are not concerned about their individual welfare, and accept the evil others inflict on them without resisting. They welcome poverty, do not seek nor flee death.
Human life is a ceaseless struggle for satisfaction, and instead of renewing this contract, the ascetic breaks it. It matters little whether these ascetics adhered to the dogmata of Christianity or Dharmic religions , since their way of living is the result of intuitive knowledge. The Christian mystic and the teacher of the Vedanta philosophy agree in this respect also, they both regard all outward works and religious exercises as superfluous for him who has attained to perfection.
So much agreement in the case of such different ages and nations is a practical proof that what is expressed here is not, as optimistic dullness likes to assert, an eccentricity and perversity of the mind, but an essential side of human nature, which only appears so rarely because of its excellence.
Philosophers have not traditionally been impressed by the tribulations of sex, but Schopenhauer addressed it and related concepts forthrightly:. He named a force within man that he felt took invariable precedence over reason: the Will to Live or Will to Life Wille zum Leben , defined as an inherent drive within human beings, and indeed all creatures, to stay alive; a force that inveigles  us into reproducing. Schopenhauer refused to conceive of love as either trifling or accidental, but rather understood it as an immensely powerful force that lay unseen within man's psyche , guaranteeing the quality of the human race:.
The ultimate aim of all love affairs What is decided by it is nothing less than the composition of the next generation It has often been argued that Schopenhauer's thoughts on sexuality foreshadowed the theory of evolution , a claim that seems to have been met with satisfaction by Darwin as he included a quote of the German philosopher in his Descent of Man after having read such a claim. Schopenhauer's politics were, for the most part, an echo of his system of ethics the latter being expressed in Die beiden Grundprobleme der Ethik , available in English as two separate books, On the Basis of Morality and On the Freedom of the Will.
Ethics also occupies about one quarter of his central work, The World as Will and Representation. In occasional political comments in his Parerga and Paralipomena and Manuscript Remains , Schopenhauer described himself as a proponent of limited government. What was essential, he thought, was that the state should "leave each man free to work out his own salvation ," and so long as government was thus limited, he would "prefer to be ruled by a lion than one of [his] fellow rats"—i.
Schopenhauer shared the view of Thomas Hobbes on the necessity of the state, and of state action, to check the destructive tendencies innate to our species. He also defended the independence of the legislative, judicial and executive branches of power, and a monarch as an impartial element able to practise justice in a practical and everyday sense, not a cosmological one. Schopenhauer, by his own admission, did not give much thought to politics, and several times he writes proudly of how little attention he had paid "to political affairs of [his] day".
In a life that spanned several revolutions in French and German government, and a few continent-shaking wars, he did indeed maintain his aloof position of "minding not the times but the eternities". He wrote many disparaging remarks about Germany and the Germans. A typical example is, "For a German it is even good to have somewhat lengthy words in his mouth, for he thinks slowly, and they give him time to reflect.
Schopenhauer attributed civilizational primacy to the northern "white races" due to their sensitivity and creativity except for the ancient Egyptians and Hindus, whom he saw as equal :. The highest civilization and culture, apart from the ancient Hindus and Egyptians, are found exclusively among the white races; and even with many dark peoples, the ruling caste or race is fairer in colour than the rest and has, therefore, evidently immigrated, for example, the Brahmans, the Incas, and the rulers of the South Sea Islands.
All this is due to the fact that necessity is the mother of invention because those tribes that emigrated early to the north, and there gradually became white, had to develop all their intellectual powers and invent and perfect all the arts in their struggle with need, want and misery, which in their many forms were brought about by the climate. This they had to do in order to make up for the parsimony of nature and out of it all came their high civilization.
Despite this, he was adamantly against differing treatment of races, was fervently anti-slavery, and supported the abolitionist movement in the United States. He describes the treatment of "[our] innocent black brothers whom force and injustice have delivered into [the slave-master's] devilish clutches" as "belonging to the blackest pages of mankind's criminal record".
Schopenhauer additionally maintained a marked metaphysical and political anti-Judaism. Schopenhauer argued that Christianity constituted a revolt against what he styled the materialistic basis of Judaism, exhibiting an Indian-influenced ethics reflecting the Aryan - Vedic theme of spiritual self-conquest. He saw this as opposed to what he held was the ignorant drive toward earthly utopianism and superficiality of a worldly "Jewish" spirit:.
While all other religions endeavor to explain to the people by symbols the metaphysical significance of life, the religion of the Jews is entirely immanent and furnishes nothing but a mere war-cry in the struggle with other nations. The State, Schopenhauer claimed, punishes criminals to prevent future crimes. It does so by placing "beside every possible motive for committing a wrong a more powerful motive for leaving it undone, in the inescapable punishment.
Accordingly, the criminal code is as complete a register as possible of counter-motives to all criminal actions that can possibly be imagined In Schopenhauer's essay On Women , he expressed his opposition to what he called "Teutonico-Christian stupidity" of reflexive unexamined reverence abgeschmackten Weiberveneration  for the female.
Schopenhauer wrote that "Women are directly fitted for acting as the nurses and teachers of our early childhood by the fact that they are themselves childish, frivolous and short-sighted. Western philosophy". He claimed that "woman is by nature meant to obey". The essay does give some compliments, however: that "women are decidedly more sober in their judgment than [men] are", and are more sympathetic to the suffering of others.
Schopenhauer's writings have influenced many, from Friedrich Nietzsche to nineteenth-century feminists. When the elderly Schopenhauer sat for a sculpture portrait by the Prussian sculptor Elisabet Ney in , he was much impressed by the young woman's wit and independence, as well as by her skill as a visual artist. I believe that if a woman succeeds in withdrawing from the mass, or rather raising herself above the mass, she grows ceaselessly and more than a man. Schopenhauer viewed personality and intellect as being inherited.
He quotes Horace 's saying, "From the brave and good are the brave descended" Odes , iv, 4, 29 and Shakespeare's line from Cymbeline , "Cowards father cowards, and base things sire base" IV, 2 to reinforce his hereditarian argument. For Schopenhauer the "final aim of all love intrigues, be they comic or tragic, is really of more importance than all other ends in human life. What it all turns upon is nothing less than the composition of the next generation. It is not the weal or woe of any one individual, but that of the human race to come, which is here at stake. Here Schopenhauer wrote:.
With our knowledge of the complete unalterability both of character and of mental faculties, we are led to the view that a real and thorough improvement of the human race might be reached not so much from outside as from within, not so much by theory and instruction as rather by the path of generation. Plato had something of the kind in mind when, in the fifth book of his Republic , he explained his plan for increasing and improving his warrior caste.
If we could castrate all scoundrels and stick all stupid geese in a convent, and give men of noble character a whole harem , and procure men, and indeed thorough men, for all girls of intellect and understanding, then a generation would soon arise which would produce a better age than that of Pericles. In another context, Schopenhauer reiterated his eugenic thesis: "If you want Utopian plans, I would say: the only solution to the problem is the despotism of the wise and noble members of a genuine aristocracy, a genuine nobility, achieved by mating the most magnanimous men with the cleverest and most gifted women.
This proposal constitutes my Utopia and my Platonic Republic. 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. 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.
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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.
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