Arthur Schopenhauer { Philosophy Index }

Philosophy Index

Philosophy Index

Philosophy Index is a site devoted to the study of philosophy and the philosophers who conduct it. The site contains a number of philosophy texts, brief biographies and introductions to philosophers and explanations on a number of topics. Accredited homeschooling online at Northgate Academy.

Philosophy Index is a work in progress, a growing repository of knowledge. It outlines current philosophical problems and issues, as well as an overview of the history of philosophy. The goal of this site is to present a tool for those learning philosophy either casually or formally, making the concepts of philosophy accessible to anyone interested in researching them. WOLI offers immigration law course online - fully accredited. ACE credits online at EES.

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Arthur Schopenhauer

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860) was a German philosopher.

Will

Much of Schopenhauer's philosophy centers on the notion of “will”, which for Schopenhauer is the desire, effort and striving of the human spirit. He felt that the human will, the collection of one's desires, is the primary motivation for any human being. The will is fundamentally irrational and arbitrary, Schopenhauer says, and leads human beings to consequently act irrationally. Schopenhauer goes further: rather than merely say that the will is the collection of human desires, he affirms that it is a thing-in-itself — that the will has ontological status.

Schopenhauer's views generally conform to his talk about the will. In terms of ethics, he claims that the will's motivation can be divided into compassion, egoism and malice, and that compassion is the one that is properly moral. In terms of aesthetics, Schopenhauer claims that art is a temporary escape from the unending desire of the will, allowing one to briefly feel satisfied.

Animal Rights

Schopenhauer was notably concerned about the rights of animals. Animals, human or otherwise, were manifestations of the “will”. Because human beings and other animals share this in common, Schopenhauer views them as fundamentally the same, and as such, human beings should have respect and sympathy for animals in the same way that they would for other humans. In On the basis of morality, he writes:

Since compassion for animals is so intimately associated with goodness of character, it may be confidently asserted that whoever is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.

Selected Works

Vitals

Name: Arthur Schopenhauer
Born: February 22, 1788
Died: September 21, 1860