Schopenhauer: A Very Short Introduction

For over 10 years I’ve been bumping up against Arthur Schopenhauer just about everywhere. His influence on continental philosophy is everywhere. Though I somehow managed to get through Goethe, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Freud, and Jung, for some reason I had just never picked up Schopenhauer. At Barnes & Noble tonight I decided to wade in slowly and picked up “Schopenhauer: A Very Short Introduction.” Maybe this is just what I need to get motivated to continue this next chapter of my studies in German Idealism.

Schopenhauer is considered to be the most readable of German philosophers. This book gives a succinct explanation of his metaphysical system, concentrating on the original aspects of his thought, which inspired many artists and thinkers including Nietzsche, Wagner, Freud, and Wittgenstein. Schopenhauer’s central notion is that of the will–a blind, irrational force that he uses to interpret both the human mind and the whole of nature. Seeing human behavior as that of a natural organism governed by the will to life, Schopenhauer developed radical insights concerning the unconscious and sexuality which influenced both psychologists and philosophers.

BTW, I’m also going to open the site up to include Goethe and Schopenhauer in the next few weeks. Be on the look out for new papers on or by these two cool dudes.

2 comments On Schopenhauer: A Very Short Introduction

  • It is better to read Schopenhauer’s works than to read what other people have written about him.

  • After reading this: Matthew read every book he could find about science and nature. The local library was the only place his Mom didn’t have answer endless rounds of “why?” questions., I thought I’d make the following comment. Schopenhauer’s book On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason (available as an Open Court paperback) lists the four ways that we can answer the question “why?.”

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