Ideas of Arthur Schopenhauer, by Theme

[German, 1788 - 1860, Born in Danzig. Educated in France and Britain. Taught at the University of Berlin. Retired in 1831, and settled in Frankfurt.]

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1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 1. Philosophy
Philosophers can't be religious, and don't need to be; philosophy is perilous but free
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 3. Philosophy Defined
Philosophy considers only the universal, in nature as everywhere else
Everyone is conscious of all philosophical truths, but philosophers bring them to conceptual awareness
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 8. Humour
Absurdity is incongruity between correct and false points of view
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 4. Metaphysics as Science
Metaphysics must understand the world thoroughly, as a principal source of knowledge
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 5. Metaphysics beyond Science
Metaphysics studies the inexplicable ends of explanation
2. Reason / B. Laws of Thought / 2. Sufficient Reason
'There is nothing without a reason why it should be rather than not be' (a generalisation of 'Why?')
Sufficient Reason can't be proved, because all proof presupposes it
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 2. Types of Existence
Matter and intellect are inseparable correlatives which only exist relatively, and for each other
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 1. Realism
For me the objective thing-in-itself is the will
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 2. Reality
Schopenhauer, unlike other idealists, says reality is irrational [Lewis,PB]
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 3. Anti-realism
The knowing subject and the crude matter of the world are both in themselves unknowable
7. Existence / E. Categories / 1. Categories
No need for a priori categories, since sufficient reason shows the interrelations [Lewis,PB]
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 3. Types of Necessity
Necessity is physical, logical, mathematical or moral [Janaway]
10. Modality / C. Sources of Modality / 1. Sources of Necessity
All necessity arises from causation, which is conditioned; there is no absolute or unconditioned necessity
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 2. Understanding
All understanding is an immediate apprehension of the causal relation
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 3. Value of Knowledge
Knowledge is not power! Ignorant people possess supreme authority
11. Knowledge Aims / B. Certain Knowledge / 4. The Cogito
Descartes found the true beginning of philosophy with the Cogito, in the consciousness of the individual
11. Knowledge Aims / C. Knowing Reality / 3. Idealism / a. Idealism
For Schopenhauer, material things would not exist without the mind [Janaway]
Schopenhauer can't use force/energy instead of 'will', because he is not a materialist [Lewis,PB]
The world only exists in relation to something else, as an idea of the one who conceives it
We know reality because we know our own bodies and actions
11. Knowledge Aims / C. Knowing Reality / 3. Idealism / b. Transcendental idealism
Object for a subject and representation are the same thing
Kant rightly separates appearance and thing-in-itself
12. Knowledge Sources / A. A Priori Knowledge / 1. Nature of the A Priori
A priori propositions are those we could never be seriously motivated to challenge
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 4. Sense Data / a. Sense-data theory
Direct feeling of the senses are merely data; perception of the world comes with understanding causes
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 5. Interpretation
All perception is intellectual
14. Science / D. Explanation / 1. Explanation / a. Explanation
All knowledge and explanation rests on the inexplicable
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / a. Types of explanation
The four explanations: objects by causes, concepts by ground, maths by spacetime, ethics by motive [Lewis,PB]
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 1. Consciousness / a. Consciousness
A consciousness without an object is no consciousness
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 2. Unconscious Mind
We have hidden and unadmitted desires and fears, suppressed because of vanity
Half our thinking is unconscious, and we reach conclusions while unaware of premises
16. Persons / C. Self-Awareness / 2. Knowing the Self
What we know in ourselves is not a knower but a will
I know both aspects of my body, as representation, and as will
16. Persons / D. Continuity of the Self / 3. Reference of 'I'
The knot of the world is the use of 'I' to refer to both willing and knowing
16. Persons / E. Rejecting the Self / 4. Denial of the Self
It is as perverse to resent our individuality being replaced by others, as to resent the body renewing itself
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 5. Against Free Will
We all regard ourselves a priori as free, but see from experience that character and motive compel us
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 6. Determinism / a. Determinism
Man's actions are not free, because they follow strictly from impact of motive on character
We don't control our own thinking
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 2. Origin of Concepts / b. Empirical concepts
Concepts are abstracted from perceptions [Lewis,PB]
All of our concepts are borrowed from perceptual knowledge
20. Action / A. Definition of Action / 4. Action as Movement
Every true act of will is also at once and without exception a movement of the body
20. Action / B. Preliminaries of Action / 2. Willed Action / a. Will to Act
Only the will is thing-in-itself, seen both in blind nature and in human action
Schopenhauer was caught in Christian ideals, because he didn't deify his 'will' [Nietzsche]
As the subject of willing I am wretched, but absorption in knowledge is bliss
20. Action / C. Motives for Action / 3. Acting on Reason / a. Practical reason
If we were essentially intellect rather than will, our moral worth would depend on imagined motives
20. Action / C. Motives for Action / 3. Acting on Reason / c. Reasons as causes
Motivation is causality seen from within
21. Aesthetics / A. Aesthetic Experience / 1. Aesthetics
Aesthetics concerns how we can take pleasure in an object, with no reference to the will
21. Aesthetics / A. Aesthetic Experience / 2. Aesthetic Attitude
Schopenhauer is a chief proponent of aesthetic experience as 'disinterested' [Janaway]
21. Aesthetics / A. Aesthetic Experience / 4. Beauty
A principal pleasure of the beautiful is that it momentarily silences the will
The beautiful is a perception of Plato's Forms, which eliminates the will
21. Aesthetics / A. Aesthetic Experience / 6. The Sublime
The Sublime fights for will-less knowing, when faced with a beautiful threat to humanity [Lewis,PB]
21. Aesthetics / C. Artistic Issues / 5. Objectivism in Art
Schopenhauer emphasises Ideas in art, unlike most romantics [Lewis,PB]
21. Aesthetics / C. Artistic Issues / 6. Value of Art
The will-less contemplation of art brings a liberation from selfhood [Gardner]
Man is more beautiful than anything else, and the loftiest purpose of art is to reveal his nature
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 1. Nature of Value / d. Subjective value
Every good is essentially relative, for it has its essential nature only in its relation to a desiring will
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 1. Nature of Value / f. Ultimate value
Will casts aside each of its temporary fulfilments, so human life has no ultimate aim [Scruton]
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 2. Values / d. Altruism
Altruistic people make less distinction than usual between themselves and others
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 2. Values / g. Self interest
Only self-love can motivate morality, but that also makes it worthless
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 2. Happiness / a. Nature of happiness
Happiness is the swift movement from desire to satisfaction, and then again on to desire
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 2. Happiness / d. Routes to happiness
We can never attain happiness while our will is pursuing desires
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 3. Pleasure / c. Value of pleasure
Pleasure is weaker, and pain stronger, than we expect
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 1. Nature of Ethics / c. Purpose of ethics
The only aim of our existence is to grasp that non-existence would be better
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 1. Nature of Ethics / d. Ethical theory
We should no more expect ethical theory to produce good people than aesthetics to produce artists
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 1. Nature of Ethics / g. Moral responsibility
We clearly feel responsible for our deeds, because we are quite certain that we did them
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / b. Rational ethics
Reason can be vicious, and great crimes have to be rational
To deduce morality from reason is blasphemy, because it is holy, and far above reason
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / e. Human nature
Man's three basic ethical incentives are egoism, malice and compassion
Man is essentially a dreadful wild animal
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 1. Virtue Theory / a. Nature of virtue
Virtue must spring from an intuitive recognition that other people are essentially like us
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / e. Character
A man's character can be learned from a single characteristic action
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 3. Virtues / a. Virtues
Buddhists wisely start with the cardinal vices
The five Chinese virtues: pity, justice, politeness, wisdom, honesty
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 4. Boredom
Human life is a mistake, shown by boredom, which is direct awareness of the fact
Boredom is only felt by those clever enough to need activity
24. Applied Ethics / B. Moral Rights / 2. Sexual Morality
Would humanity still exist if sex wasn't both desired and pleasurable?
24. Applied Ethics / B. Moral Rights / 3. Animal Rights
Philosophy treats animals as exploitable things, ignoring the significance of their lives
24. Applied Ethics / C. Death Issues / 1. Death
Most people would probably choose non-existence at the end of their life, rather than relive the whole thing
24. Applied Ethics / C. Death Issues / 4. Suicide
If suicide was quick and easy, most people would have done it by now
25. Society / B. The State / 1. Purpose of a State
The state only exists to defend citizens, from exterior threats, and from one another
25. Society / C. Social Justice / 2. Social Freedom / a. Slavery
Poverty and slavery are virtually two words for the same thing
25. Society / C. Social Justice / 2. Social Freedom / c. Free speech
The freedom of the press to sell poison outweighs its usefulness
26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 1. Nature
The essence of nature is the will to life itself
27. Natural Reality / C. Space-Time / 2. Time / a. Time
Time may be defined as the possibility of mutually exclusive conditions of the same thing
29. Religion / B. Monotheistic Religion / 4. Christianity / a. Christianity
Christianity is a pessimistic religion, in which the world is equated with evil
29. Religion / D. Religious Issues / 1. Religious Commitment / a. Religious Belief
Religion is the mythical clothing of the truth which is inaccessible to the crude human intellect
Only religion introduces serious issues to uneducated people
29. Religion / D. Religious Issues / 3. Problem of Evil / a. Problem of Evil
The Creator created the possibilities for worlds, so should have made a better one than this possible