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Arthur Schopenhauer. Metaphysics of the Will. Schopenhauer – the metaphysical pessimist . We have known that the modern western philosophy culminates in Hegelian optimism that the reason will reign at the end of human history. The real is reasonable, and the reasonable is real.

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arthur schopenhauer

Arthur Schopenhauer

Metaphysics of the Will

schopenhauer the metaphysical pessimist
Schopenhauer – the metaphysical pessimist
  • We have known that the modern western philosophy culminates in Hegelian optimism that the reason will reign at the end of human history. The real is reasonable, and the reasonable is real.
  • This optimism was challenged by the failure of Revolution of 1848 in Germany.
  • Before this Revolution Arthur Schopenhauer has already formulated his metaphysical pessimism in his major work “Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung” (the world as will and representation).
being as will
Being as Will
  • Schopenhauer criticizes Kantian doctrine of ‘das Ding an sich’. The reality in itself according to Kant is unknowable, and we know only the phenomenal world. Schopenhauer refuses this very fundamental of Kant’s philosophy that influences the German idealism. According to him ‘das Ding an sich’ is knowable, and it is the will.
the metaphysical will
The metaphysical Will
  • Schopenhauer’s concept of will is very specific and unique in the history of western philosophy. In this sense the will is not the concrete human will, but it is the all pervasive will. The Schopenhauer’s will is the reality it self. If the whole reality is will, it is a dynamic movement of will, not a being, but a becoming. But the movement of will moves nowhere, because this metaphysical will is blind and purposeless.
the world is my presentation
The World is my presentation
  • Agree with Kant Schopenhauer argues that the world is nothing than our presentation (Vorstellung). The world is not the reality in it self. Later he is inspired by the eastern philosophy through Friedrich Meyer and believes that the visible and tangible world is only the veil of maya. Also, our body, our life and our environment are only illusion. They are not real. The real reality is the blind metaphysical will.
the one and the many
The One and The Many
  • We feel and see that there is plurality in this world. Our five senses give us such impression. But the reality is in its essence one and not many. The one is the will. The many is maya or illusion.
suffering that is the essence of our life
Suffering – That is the essence of our life
  • We are the slave of the blind metaphysical will. Also, our life is not only full of suffering, but also life means to suffer, because the will is arbitrary and purposeless. We plan something rationally for our future, but our reason is only the instrument of that will. The will play our reason without any direction.
and how about the happiness
And How about the Happiness?

Schopenhauer views happiness not as something positive, but as something negative. Suffering is something; happiness is nothing. If we feel happy, we don’t get the real situation. This feeling of happiness comes from the absence of consciousness of our life. We forget the suffering, then this feeling of happiness comes. But that is not reality.

With this view Schopenhauer becomes the greatest pessimist in all western philosophy.

the way of release
The Way of Release
  • There are two ways of release from suffering:
  • 1. Through the aesthetical way: Music can release us from suffering, but this way is only temporary, because we forget only the suffering.
  • 2. The true way of release is the the ethical way: through the ethical sympathy with the other being that suffer like us. Schopenhauer’s ethics is the ethics of compassion (Mitleidethik).
the problem of suicide
The Problem of Suicide
  • Schopenhauer refuses suicide as a way of release from the metaphysical will of this life. But why?
  • According to him if man commits suicide, he doesn’t free himself from the will. The very will to commit suicide is itself the manifestation of the blind will.