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 / 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?')
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 thing objective thing-in-itself is the will
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 3. Anti-realism
The knowing subject and the crude matter of the world are both in themselves unknowable
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 / 5. 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
For Schopenhauer, material things would not exist without the mind [Janaway]
The world only exists in relation to something else, as an idea of the one who conceives it
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
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
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
Schopenhauer was caught in Christian ideals, because he didn't deify his 'will' [Nietzsche]
Only the will is thing-in-itself, seen both in blind nature and in human action
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 / C. Artistic Issues / 6. Value of Art
Man is more beautiful than anything else, and the loftiest purpose of art is to reveal his nature
The will-less contemplation of art brings a liberation from selfhood [Gardner]
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 / c. Altruism
Altruistic people make less distinction than usual between themselves and others
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 2. Values / f. 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
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
The five Chinese virtues: pity, justice, politeness, wisdom, honesty
Buddhists wisely start with the cardinal vices
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 4. Boredom
Boredom is only felt by those clever enough to need activity
Human life is a mistake, shown by boredom, which is direct awareness of the fact
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