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Introduction: Arthur Schopenhauer: The Man and His Work


Subject Philosophy

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1700-1799, 1800-1899

People Schopenhauer, Arthur

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405171038.2012.00001.x


It is safe to say that Arthur Schopenhauer, who was born in Danzig (now Gdansk) in 1788 and died in Frankfurt-am-Main in 1860, was always an outsider among philosophers. He was considered as too literary and rhetorical by analytical philosophers, too metaphysical by the logical positivists and scientific naturalists, and was too unhistorical and apolitical for the Hegelians and phenomenologists. Moreover, he was totally neglected or dismissed by philosophers such as Russell, Sartre, Heidegger, Adorno and Levinas, and by “postmodern” authors such as Derrida and Lyotard. And, although recent scholarship has begun to show a change of attitude, it is still often the case that, if contemporary philosophers study Schopenhauer's oeuvre at all, they are often more interested in its influence on Nietzsche, Freud or Wittgenstein than in reading his work for its own sake. Engaging with Schopenhauer's philosophy is, however, a tremendously rewarding experience. Not just because of the extraordinary qualities of its prose, but perhaps even more so because of the generous cosmopolitan world view it conveys, the relentless search for truth it displays, the clarity of its arguments and its deeply human concern with the sufferings, pleasures and values of human (and animal) existence. It will be hard to find a more genuine and comprehensive example in the history of philosophy of such an honest ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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