Talk:Arthur Schopenhauer/Archive 3

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Pipes, Pistols, and Noise

Will Durant's Story of Philosophy claims (about Schoenphauer): "He became gloomy, cynical, and suspicious; he was obsessed with fears and evil fantasies; he kept his pipes under lock and key; and never trusted his neck to a barber's razor; and he slept with loaded pistols at his bedside - presumably for the conviennce of the burglar. He could not bear noise: 'I have long held the opinion', he writes, ' that the amount of noise which anyone car bear undisturbed stands in inverse proportion to his mental capacity and may therefore be regarded as a pretty fair measure of it. Noise is a torture to all intelluctual people ... The superabundant display of vitality which takes the form of knocking, hammering, and tumbling things about has proved a daily torment to me all my life long." (talk) 02:04, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

Changes to Introduction

Wikipedia Editors:

I have made significant changes to the introduction of Schopenhauer, which I believe add to the quality of this article, particularly its readability. If you have any complaints or suggestions, please contact me or leave your message here.—Preceding unsigned comment added by User:Chrisknop (talk) 22:12, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

8/21/08: Lestrade, I think the evolutionary implication of Schopenhauer is important to today's reader, since like Goethe, Schopenhauer was a philosopher very interested in science. I will work on something that communicates this point less prominently and more smoothly. I would prefer that should you also decide to change that, you should sufficiently explain your reasoning below for the record. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:20, 22 August 2008 (UTC) Chris

Schop claimed that the basic essence of all living beings is a striving, willing desire to continue to live. The forms that this willing take are only outward appearances. Please inform us as to how Schop's thought related to Darwin's theory of evolution. Possibly, the will–to–live resulted in physical changes that increased the chances of survival.Lestrade (talk) 16:27, 22 August 2008 (UTC)Lestrade


I have deleted the Schopenhauer and Fascism section. It is a totally false section and proclaims the very opposite of the truth about Schopenhauer. This section stated the following: Schopenhauer's 'denial of will' concept was picked up and heralded by Nietzsche, whose writings were later used by the Nazi's to justify the Führerprinzip. Nietzsche did not "herald" Schopenhauer's concept of denial of the will. As a matter of fact, all of Nietzche's writings absolutely opposed this concept and strenuously urged everyone to "say yes to life." Saying "yes" to life is the opposite of denying the will. The Nazis did not use Schopenhauer's concept of denial of the will to justify the Führerprinzip. That principle was based on the opposite of denial. It was based on a strenuous and brutal affirmation of will.Lestrade (talk) 01:35, 29 August 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

This is absolutely correct. Nietzsche rejected the "denial-of-the-will" and instead morphed S.'s concept of the "will-to-live" into his own "will-to-power". The latter concept was the idea misunderstood and misappropriated by the Nazi's to their own ends. I asked for a source before putting this in the body of the article. Do you have a source? ~ Alcmaeonid (talk) 13:20, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

It occurs to me that User: might be thinking that the Führer Principle requires that the Leader demands absolute obedience from everyone. Therefore, it may seem that everyone has to deny their own will and submit to the will of the Führer. That, however, is not Schopenhauer's concept of denial of the will. Schopenhauer described a situation in which a person realizes that the world is an arena of constant conflict between egoistic wills and is, therefore, a scene of endless pain and suffering. Such a person may become disgusted with the world or feel hatred for it. As a result, the person ceases to will. This is denial of the will or loss of the will–to–live. There are many cases in which it is said that a person "loses his will," "is sick of the world," or "is world–weary." It is obvious that User: has not read Schopenhauer and was simply projecting his/her own meaning onto the concept of denial of the will.Lestrade (talk) 15:36, 29 August 2008 (UTC)Lestrade


In the "Influences" section, I added Arnold Schoenberg. According to John Covach's article "Sources of Schoenberg's 'Aesthetic Theology',"[1] Schopenhauer's influence on Schoenberg is well–documented.Lestrade (talk) 16:19, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Should Schopenhauer Be Grouped with German Idealism?

The following passage seems, to me, to be false:

Schopenhauer's metaphysical discovery of "will", his views on human motivation and desire, and his aphoristic writing style influenced many well-known philosophers, including Friedrich Nietzsche, Wagner, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Sigmund Freud and others, forming a cornerstone in what is now known as "German Idealism."

This is referenced by a citation to Higgins, Kathleen. "Schopenhauer--The World as Will and Idea." Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, Part V [DVD]. The Teaching Company, 2000. The German Idealists, (Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel), however, were not influenced at all by Schopenhauer. Nietzsche, Wagner, Wittgenstein, and Freud had no relation to German Idealists. The German Idealists claimed that there is no difference between subject and object, that there is an Absolute Spirit (like the Old Testament God), that world history is an account of this Spirit's growing self–consciousness, that Reason is the essence of the world, that obscurity is a sign of profundity, that self–contradiction is logically acceptable, and that we have knowledge through a Reason that gives us direct Intuition. These are all the opposite of Schopenhauer's philosophy. Kathleen Higgins must have never read a page of Schopenhauer's works.Lestrade (talk) 17:14, 3 September 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

Les, I disagree. The statement does not say the Schop influenced other German Idealists (although he undoubtedly did), but that his thought formed "a cornerstone" in G.I. "The last great representative of German Idealism in systematic philosophy was Schopenhauer." Read the relevant section. While Schopenhauer's piece to the puzzle is different from the others, his is a refinement of it. You make some good points. I argue that "absolute spirit"="will". There may be some difference between absolute spirit and will; Schop does say there is no reason or purpose to will, which is at odds with Kant, etc., but that is a refinement of german idealism towards realism, not a breaking with it. Bottom line here is that German Idealism is the belief that everything is connected by fundamental metaphysical ideas, and this metaphysical discovery is central to Schopenhauer's philosophy and discovery of the "will". --Chrisknop (talk) 18:17, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Saying that spirit = will is a very debatable assertion. Saying that for German Idealism and Schopenhauer's philosophy everything is connected by fundamental metaphysical ideas is a very moot claim.Lestrade (talk) 23:44, 8 September 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

How do you mean "moot"? Of no value? Modern thought was turning away from metaphysics at that time, with English empiricism (and the scientific revolution) teaching that knowledge comes only from what we see, smell, touch, and hear. Schopenhauer's path to knowledge was not this pragmatic or empirical one, and I believe that puts him directly with the idealists. --Chrisknop (talk) 05:14, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

Moot = debatable. Schopenhauer's philosophy is based on experience. He was an extreme empiricist. The direct experience that everyone has of their own will, desire, impulse is the foundation of his claim that the world is, in one aspect, representation and, in another aspect, will. There is no connection between Schopenhauer and German Idealists for the reasons that I listed above (The German Idealists claimed that there is no difference between subject and object, that there is an Absolute Spirit (like the Old Testament God), that world history is an account of this Spirit's growing self–consciousness, that Reason is the essence of the world, that obscurity is a sign of profundity, that self–contradiction is logically acceptable, and that we have knowledge through a Reason that gives us direct Intuition).Lestrade (talk) 12:29, 9 September 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

To repeat, empiricism in philosophy is a focus on physical senses, and S. tried to transcend the five senses. He was educated in schools that taught idealism, by German Idealists, and his doctoral thesis was on idealism. His most popular theory of "will" is not rooted in scientific discovery, but based on metaphysical concepts. Read the first paragraph of S.'s major work (Will and Rep.) has chapters entitled "The Indestructibility of Our Inner Nature", "On Man's Need for Metaphysics"; and its first chapter was: "On the Fundamental View of Idealism." S. was an idealist, though he was critical of certain aspects of German Idealism. His idealism is most pronounced in his concept of aesthetics. --Chrisknop (talk) 21:28, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

Schop was an empiricist in that his philosophy was based on direct experience. He claimed that the "substratum of all phenomena, and therefore of the whole of Nature, is nothing but what we know directly and very intimately and find within ourselves as will.[2] Schopenhauer's idealism was a transcendental idealism or a subjective idealism similar to Berkeley's. Schop's only metaphysical assertion was that the thing–in–itself is will. He wrote that "this will, being the one and only thing–in–itself, the sole truly real, primary, metaphysical thing in a world in which everything else is only phenomenon, i.e., mere representation…."[3] German Idealism was a dogmatic idealism that claimed that the world is fundamentally "Spirit." This is the opposite of what Schopenhauer claimed.Lestrade (talk) 12:42, 10 September 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

1. How is "the will", which is a central tenet to Schopenhauer's philosophy, based on direct experience? Or his view on aesthetics? Because he used examples of historical characters to show that certain qualities came from certain genders? That type of speculating comes from intuition and an innate belief in his own genius, not from an emphasis on scientific experiment or sense-perception.

2. "Will" is some type of variation of the spirit principle (big picture).

3. German Idealism as a concept is not set in stone; it is more than philosophical dogma, it describes a philosophical, cultural, and aesthetic era, and as I set out above, S. fits into it with more than just his writings. His mood, like Goethe's, wanting to take on every aspect of science, his teachers and colleagues, his subject matter, but most importantly, his method - objectivism and logic striving to answer non-physical questions. --Chrisknop (talk) 13:59, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

1. Will is the experience that you have when you crave or desire something. It is the most fundamental of all experiences and all other experiences are a variation of the experience of will. His view of aesthetics was that concentration on the world as a mere representation (mental image) provides temporary relief from the pressure of willing.
2. "Will" is not a kind of spirit. According to Schop, it is impulse and striving, apart from any relation to conscious understanding or reason.
3. German Idealism is a definite class of philosophy. It includes the work of Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel, but not the work of Schopenhauer.Lestrade (talk) 20:41, 10 September 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

Introduction Dispute

Re: Schopenhauer's Reasons for Leaving Hamburg, and His Relationship With his Mother

User Schopenhauer's mental state prior to leaving Hamburg to be with his mother is not a documentable fact which belongs in an introduction. S.'s relationship with his mother, if discussed, should be with undisputed general facts in the introduction, and then discussed in as a separate topic below. At that point, opinion words should still be avoided. In any case, the intro to S.'s life should be kept as short as possible, without deviating into sub-topics. Please list your arguments below ( --Chrisknop (talk) 18:58, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

"Schopenhauer's disgust" with "day-to-day" work in Hamburg is speculative/conclusory. Why S. left Hamburg to be with his mother is a matter of speculation, unless we can find direct evidence of Schopenhauer's intent (documented words/statements by Schopenhauer).--Chrisknop (talk) 13:47, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

As has pointed out, these are well known facts told repeatedly throughout the several biographies, not "speculative." For just one example see the first bio written in english by his first English language translator Helen Zimmern. To wit:
"To show deference to his [fathers] memory he continued the hated mercantile pursuits, though daily his being rebelled more and more against the monotonous and soulless office routine. To be chained for life, as he thought, to a path so distasteful, deepened his depression."
The Hamburg story was retold in the latest by Safranski. Have you read any of the biographies?
And yes it is relevant in that it sketches in some details of the very formative, psychologically important relationship he had with his mother. ~ Alcmaeonid (talk) 22:40, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

Alch, I respect your opinion, but the above statements on S.'s Hamburg work experience are opinion. Just because it is in several biographies does not make it fact. The words "hated", "rebelled", "monotonous", and "soulless" are all interesting and paint a colorful picture, but they are all speculative. Perhaps S. liked his Hamburg job, but acted as though he despised it. If these are "well-known" facts, prove it. Unless we can get a direct quote or written statement by Schopenhauer about his Hamburg experience, no statement on his mental state (from hearsay or deduction) belongs. A biographer's opinion is not fact, it is expert opinion, which does not belong in the undisputed statement of facts (the introduction). --Chrisknop (talk) 13:42, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

Please read wp:OR#Using_sources and WP:PSTS. Your opinion that the biographers are being speculative is irrelevant. They are the sources that we rely on. You have little knowledge of what resources they used in arriving at their conclusions. But since their work was peer reviewed and sanctioned in academic presses it is a bit arrogant on your part to disparage them via conjecture, wherein you commit the self same offense you have accused them of. We don't necessarily need direct quotes from S. in order to present a fact in his bio. In fact that would be using a primary source which is generally discouraged and, if used without caution, open to wp:OR. I am going to re-insert the information. I applaud and encourage your enthusiasm Chris but would advise a bit of wiki-homework, reading the policy pages and doing some analysis of other articles [4] [5] with good biographical material. Regards, Alcmaeonid (talk) 15:44, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

I reiterate my stance. Biographical commentary and speculation do not belong in the introduction. Only facts. I am removing it. You believe the passage belongs because it was written and published. If the opinions/speculation belong at all, it is in the "Views on Women" section. --Chrisknop (talk) 14:22, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

What I believe is that the biographers Helen Zimmern and Rudiger Safranski, through their access to the diaries, journals and notebooks of S. and all the principal players, have a better grasp on what S.'s motivations and mental states were, than you do. Get real man. And what do you mean when you say "the introduction"? Are you confusing it with the Lead section? The information you deleted was in the Life section, right where it belongs. ~ Alcmaeonid (talk) 18:07, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Maybe they have a better opinion, maybe not. Schopenhauer has been interpreted in many different ways. But opinions and characterizations do not belong. By "introduction", I did mean "Lead". Thank you for the correction. By the way alch, help me clean up the thought section. --Chrisknop (talk) 23:38, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

I think that you may be misinterpreting the policies. The way the guidelines are currently written discourages Wikipedia editors from inserting their own unsourced opinions into the article. It would be the height of folly, however, to ignore the reasoned and evidence-based published conclusions of subject-matter experts. I should point out that what you here are describing as "opinion" is exactly that: reasoned and evidence-based published conclusions of subject-matter experts.--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 18:13, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

Third Opinion

I saw this discussion posted at the Third Opinion Noticeboard. I am currently reading the arguments above and the article itself. I will post back here in a few moments. Lazulilasher (talk) 15:11, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Third opinion (ec)

  • First, wikipedia reports generally accepted opinions of reliable scholars irrespective of whether there is an undisputable confirmation of those opinions. If it is generally accepted amongst scholars of Schopenhauer's life that His disgust with the details of day-to-day business, however, drove him away to join his mother in Weimar after only a year. Schopenhauer had a stormy relationship with his mother. When the famous writer Goethe, who was a friend of Johanna Schopenhauer, told her that her son was destined for great things, Johanna stated that there were never two geniuses in a single family. then wikipedia will report it, along with appropriate WP:RS citations.
  • Second, should the statement go in the introduction. lf the statement (assuming it is generally accepted, etc. etc.) is important in understanding the person (or place, thing, ...) being written about, then surely it must go in the introduction.
  • Third, is it in the introduction at all? As far as I can see here [6] it is not, in which case there is really no issue at all (other than the 'fact' that the statements are not sourced). Someone needs to add a few reliable sources and that should be it. If the opinion is contested, then other points of view should also be presented (appropriately sourced, of course!).

Essentially (from WP:RS), Articles should rely on reliable, third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. This means that we only publish the opinions of reliable authors, and not the opinions of Wikipedians who have read and interpreted primary source material for themselves. As long as the source is reliable, there is little distinction between opinion and fact.--Regents Park (count the magpies) 15:20, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

1) Opinions (and opinion words) about one's mental state do not belong in an enclopedia article, no matter who wrote them. 2) This 3rd opinion does not adequately address the issues of using opinion, and relevancy. --Chrisknop (talk) 15:26, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Like I said on my talk page, a generally accepted opinion of scholars is akin to a fact. I quote from WP:RS Articles should rely on reliable, third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. This means that we only publish the opinions of reliable authors, and not the opinions of Wikipedians who have read and interpreted primary source material for themselves. In other words, we accept the opinions of reliable scholars and to say that Opinions (and opinion words) do not belong in an enclopedia article, no matter who wrote them is incorrect. In fact, if an opinion is generally accepted or is even a mainstream but contested opinion, it must be included in the article otherwise we are doing our readers a disservice by excluding important information about the subject matter. Again, from WP:RS, Wikipedia articles should strive to cover all major and significant-minority scholarly interpretations on topics for which scholarly sources exist, and all major and significant-minority views that have been published in other reliable sources. Note the use of the word interpretations. Relevance is a different issue. In general, material should be in context, should not be a fringe view, and should not mislead (intentionally or unintentionally) the reader. What you need to address is whether or not the sources behind those opinions are reliable and whether the text is placed in context. In my opinion, including the text in the section on Life, where it seems to be, is in-context while including it in the introduction is not, assuming that the views are mainstream (I don't know enough about Schopenhauer to determine that). --Regents Park (count the magpies) 16:22, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
This argument does not belong here. It is a question that relates to all wikipedia biographies, to wit: is it OK for an editor to use a sanctioned biographer's psychological characterization of his subject? The current answer, according to Wikipedia guidelines as I understand them, is: Yes. This question goes to "motivation", "mood", "inner thoughts", etc., the examples of which in all encyclopedias are too numerous to list. This is a standard device used by most biographers who usually extrapolate from diaries, notebooks and journals. Personally, I consider this to be a non-starter issue. Are we wikipedians to strike out on our own and declare the techniques of academic scholars as misguided? Of course not.
As to this article, the edit needs to be restored and this discussion transferred to the village pump or some such other relevant policy forum. ~ Alcmaeonid (talk) 19:06, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

The revision sounds terrible and has made the article worse in terms of flow. Apparently Alch you are determined to include a speculative passage written by a biographer which is neither appropriate nor relevant. Someone else, please put in your two cents here. The passage does not belong. I am removing the entire section until you can properly cite it. --Chrisknop (talk) 03:39, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

With Frege as our inspiration, we must defend ourselves with triple armor against the dreaded evil of subjective psychology. The many biographers who attested to Schopenhauer's inner mental activity were mere psychologists, against whom we must battle to the final breath.Lestrade (talk) 14:38, 13 September 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

And battle to the final breath, I did. Thank you, Lestrade. --Chrisknop (talk) 07:28, 14 September 2008 (UTC)

But, wait…

"Thus everything objective is for us always only mediate; the subjective alone is the immediate; and so this must not be passed over, but must be made the absolute starting–point." Arthur Schopenhauer,Parerga and Paralipomena,Volume I,"Fragments for the History of Philosophy",§ 12,p. 76.

Lestrade (talk) 17:38, 15 September 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

Moving on to the "Thought" Section

This section is horribly written. It starts with the phrase "hurling invective" and goes downhill from there. Is there any way we can clean it up? Lestrade, would you like to take a shot at making the section more clear, straightforward, and readable? Alch, what do you think? Would you like to give it a shot? --Chrisknop (talk) 07:55, 14 September 2008 (UTC)

I have made substantial changes to the Thought section, mostly by clarifying and simplifying its structure and modying sentences. This will mean there is quite a bit of clean-up, after all I am not perfect. Please write your suggestions here, and if you disagree, please propose something better than what was there (which was terrible). All-in-all, much of the information in this article needs to be streamlined or removed, and better organized. --Chrisknop (talk) 15:57, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

I don't think the "Will" section (the first in thought) is well written, or conveys its idea very well. --Chrisknop (talk) 08:40, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Schopenhauer's concept of metaphysical Will is both very difficult and very easy to understand. It is difficult because it is an attempt to verbally describe the metaphysical, which cannot be done. It is easy because the Will is supposed to be the very essence of all things, including ourselves. As such, it is the apprehension of blind urge, impulse, force, energy, and craving that we all recognize when we know ourselves as being alive. But these are all concepts that belong only to the phenomenal world, not the metaphysical. They are the closest that the words of the phenomenal world can come to desribing the metaphysical world, according to Schopenhauer.Lestrade (talk) 14:42, 2 October 2008 (UTC)Lestrade


The article makes it seem as though will is merely the basic motivation of humans. In Schopenhauer's writings, however, will is everything and everything is will. All things in the world are essentially and basically what we know in ourselves as will. This is a radical thought. It should be given prime importance in an article on Schopenhauer. It is his connection to the Hindu Vedas, in which everything is Brahman.Lestrade (talk) 00:13, 4 October 2008 (UTC)Lestrade Good point Les. I will revise to reflect will emphasis. --Chrisknop (talk) 20:51, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

Weighty issue

In the "Philosophy of the 'Will'" section, it is stated that Schopenhauer was a "heavy reader" of Hegel. It is known from his correspondence that he borrowed a copy of Hegel's Logic and returned it after having read only part of it. His revulsion with Hegel's disregard for the principle of contradiction prevented him from reading the whole book. What are the requirements for being a "heavy" reader?Lestrade (talk) 16:19, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Will & Art

The section titled "Expressions of the Will: Art and Aesthetics" is incorrect. Art, for Schop, is not expression. We have been taught in the last 100 years, especially by Benedetto Croce, that art is a way to display our thoughts and emotions. But Schop saw art, not as part of the world as will, but, as part of the world as representation. For him, art is a concern with pure representations (mental images), without regard for any connection to the will (urge, impulse, want, desire, or emotion). If a person's attention is focussed on pure representation, then that person is temporarily released from the suffering that is part of willing. Will and representation are mutually exclusive. Music is the only art that is not related to representations. It is the will, itself, presented directly to a listening subject, without mental image. The will, as such, in itself, has no representations to guide it or give it direction. It uses representations as an outside tool to get more and more in order to feed its appetite. Representation, as such, has no will. It is pure "idea," picture, or mental image with no desire or need. Therefore, art is not expression of the will. The world of art is the world of pure representation. Of course, other thinkers have tried to make art an expression of the will. As a result, we have the repulsive productions that we call "art" today, but they are not really art, as everyone certainly knows.Lestrade (talk) 23:49, 12 October 2008 (UTC)


I would like to know where, in his works, Schopenhauer asserts that the three primary moral incentives are compassion, malice, and egoism. I am sure that he did not write that statement. Also, I am sure that he did not write that compassion is the major motivator to moral expression and that malice and egoism are corrupt alternatives. Therefore, I believe that the entire "Ethics" section of the article is not a statement of Schopenhauer's ethics. Rather, it is probably the creation of someone who has never read Schopenhauer's books.Lestrade (talk) 16:13, 14 November 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

I suspect what you say is true. However how could we possibly know since this sub-section, like the entire "Thought" section, employs minimal secondary sources and is thus largely unverifiable. It reads like an essay, not an encyclopedia article. (May I venture a guess that this fact bothers you not?) ~ Alcmaeonid (talk) 16:43, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

I don't know what you mean when you say that it reads like an essay and not like an encyclopedia article. I, also, don't know what you mean by saying that it is unverifiable because it employs minimal secondary sources. Primary sources would be the best sources for verification. There seem to be some statements that sound like they are subjective. It would be best if Schopenhauer's works were cited profusely. In that way, a reader could look up the cited passage and verify its accuracy.Lestrade (talk) 18:53, 14 November 2008 (UTC)Lestrade T

It's not adequately sourced and reads like either opinion or independent analysis (not permitted). This is the weakest section of the article, in my view. To write it properly, one needs to have a strong overview of Schopenhauer's writings on the subject, and then back up what is said with quotes from Schopenhauer and then, the secondary literature.Levalley (talk) 21:19, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

Russell & Marquet

Bertrand Russell was pleased to tell the story of the Marquet lawsuit. His logical mind, however, never considered the possibility that Marquet saw an easy way to make money. Schopenhauer was obviously a man of independent means because he was never seen to leave his apartment in order to go to a place of employment. He also was known to be easily annoyed by loud noise. It might have been the equivalent of today's "slipping in the food market in order to sue and collect damages." Very conveniently, she had a witness who would swear that Schopenhauer assaulted and battered her. The Wikipedia article cannot take Russell's version as being the truth, even though he considered himself to be an expert on truth.Lestrade (talk) 01:17, 20 December 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

I think the paragraph is excellent as edited right now - and more in line with what is likely to have happened - good job!Levalley (talk) 21:17, 22 March 2009 (UTC)LeValley
If you are going to write: "Knowing that he was a man of some means and that he disliked noise, she deliberately annoyed him by raising her voice while standing right outside his door." you will defininitely need a source to the fact(?) that she provoked him on purpose. -Sensemaker 13:30, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Schopenhauer existentialism

The chapter "On will as a thing-of-itself" in The World and Will as its Representation talks about freedom of the will and its relation with determinism. Some of the passages alarmlingly sounds similar to existentilist thought of Sartre and Camus, about man's strive to create meaning in a hostile meaningless world (though Schopenhauer did not use those exact word). This book also talks a little about Schopenhauer's influence on existentialism. It's also said commonly that Nietzche took some ideas from Schopenhauer, and Nietzhe indirectly had impact on the ideas of Sartre, so shouldn't "existentialism" be mentioned in the article? (talk) 01:08, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

There may be no direct connection between Schopenhauer and existentialism. Regarding free will and existential choice, Schopenhauer taught that all phenomena appear in accordance with the principle of sufficient reason and are therefore the effect of some cause, motive, or reason and are not free. Only the metaphysical Will is free, determined only by its own nature. Sartre was influenced by Hegel, who was Schopenhauer's antipode. Sartrean sentences, such as "The for-itself is a being such that in its being, its being is in question in so far as this being is essentially a certain way of not being a being which it posits simultaneously as other than itself" are almost parodies of Hegel's writing.Lestrade (talk) 18:51, 27 December 2008 (UTC)Lestrade
But wasn't Hegel extremely anti-individualist? Or just he's often been said as such. Personally I find no connection between Hegel's brand of German idealism with the existentialist thought of Kierkegaard. Wandering Courier (talk) 04:30, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Albert Einstein and Schopenhauer

Why Einstein is among the influenced people by Schopenhauer? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:28, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

In his “Credo,” or “What I believe,” Einstein said: “I don't believe in the freedom of the will. Schopenhauer's words: ‘Man can very well do whatever he wants, but he cannot will what he wants’ accompany me in all situations throughout my life and reconcile me with the actions of others, even if they are rather painful to me. This awareness of the lack of freedom of will preserves me from taking too seriously myself and my fellow men as acting and deciding individuals and from losing my good humor.” [Ich glaube nicht an die Freiheit des Willens. Schopenhauers Wort, der Mensch kann wohl tun, was er will, aber er kann nicht wollen, was er will, begleitet mich in allen Lebenslagen und versöhnt mich mit den Handlungen der Menschen, auch wenn sie mir recht schmerzlich sind. Diese Erkenntnis von der Unfreiheit des Willens schützt mich davor, mich selbst und die Mitmenschen als handelnde und urteilende Individuen allzu Ernst zu nehmen und den guten Humor zu verlieren.] (Schopenhauer's actual words were: "You can do what you will, but in any given moment of your life you can will only one definite thing and absolutely nothing other than that one thing." See On the Freedom of the Will.) Einstein's assertion that Schopenhauer's words "accompany me in all situations throughout my life" seems to indicate that there is some kind of influence involved. There are other influences, which I will add soon because I do not have the time at present.Lestrade (talk) 03:51, 1 February 2009 (UTC)Lestrade
Another example of Schopenhauer's influence on Einstein is manifested in Einstein's Ideas and Opinions, Part V, Principles of Research, p. 225 (Ideas and Opinions, New York: Crown, 1982, ISBN 0-517-55601-4). It is from his address to the Physical Society in Berlin, 1918, on the occasion of Max Planck's sixtieth birthday. "I believe with Schopenhauer that one of the strongest motives that leads men to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness, from the fetters of one's own ever shifting desires. A finely tempered nature longs to escape from personal life into the world of objective perception and thought…." In accordance with Schopenhauer's aesthetics, the world as representation offers relief from the world as will.Lestrade (talk) 14:23, 4 February 2009 (UTC)Lestrade

After all of the above, User deleted Einstein's name in the list of people who were influenced by Schopenhauer. Wikipedia is frustrating. It is a lifetime job to protect the articles from people who are unread or ignorant. Is it worth the trouble? There are legions of high school juveniles who are prepared to destroy the value of the articles. I undid the deletion but will not do anything further. I am convinced that the Wikipedia project is doomed to failure because of the quality of the majority of readers and contributors.Lestrade (talk) 16:36, 28 May 2009 (UTC)Lestrade

Actually you're mistaken. The anon user added it in and then realized that it was already there (alphabetized properly) and removed his redundant entry. ~ Alcmaeonid (talk) 16:28, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
If one wishes a statement to be in an article, that statement should be sourced. Then it is more likely to stay. Mitsube (talk) 18:43, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

Mitsube-san, every statement that I made about Schopenhauer's influence on Einstein (in Einstein's own words) is fully sourced.Lestrade (talk) 14:49, 30 May 2009 (UTC)Lestrade

Schopenhauer and fuzzy logic should be removed

Too much space in the article is devoted to what simply amounts to the lone and obscure opinion of a single person that has been expressed in just a single paper. An encyclopedia should be focussed on major mainstream views.Ekwos (talk) 23:33, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

I disagree. The information is in regard to statements that were made in a respected scholarly journal by an established professor. They show the contemporary importance of a part of Schopenhauer's philosophy. One could just as well say that your opinion "simply amounts to the lone and obscure opinion of a single person" because Ekwos's background and expertise are not known.Lestrade (talk) 17:07, 11 March 2009 (UTC)Lestrade
For most topics there is a spectrum of scholarly papers out there by fully credentialed writers with opinions all over the place. A tertiary source like this should not become a literature review - which is what wikipedia would become if every line of research, no matter how few people are involved, were granted space. This is just one guy's very tangential opinion. What will the article look like if we go out and find 20 more tangential opinions of individual professors?Ekwos (talk) 18:29, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
I think the section is overly dependant on the quoting (and linking to) a page in a business professor's article on Schopenhauer. The entire subject could be pared down to one or two sentences - there's too much quoting of the business professor relative to quotes from Schopenhauer on this page.Levalley (talk) 21:15, 22 March 2009 (UTC)LeValley
I looked at it again, and it looks even more likely that the person that created the section is the author of the article, or someone that knows them. At best the article could maybe be mentioned in a single line in some kind of miscelleny section. It certainly doesn't merit the space it takes up now, so I've eliminated it.Ekwos (talk) 22:02, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

This is a good article

I've been looking at biographic articles on many different people on Wikipedia lately, and I really like this one - just thought some praise was in order (there's so little of that on Wikipedia!) So, to those responsible for this article: congratulations. I can see there's still more work to be done, but the sections are balanced, it flows, it's not controversial (it's way, way better than the article on Tolstoy that I'm trying to help edit, it's a good example for us).Levalley (talk) 21:13, 22 March 2009 (UTC)LeValley

I do have one small criticism. The personal biographical details are spread about too much during the article (two girlfriends under "views on women" doesn't seem appropriate - it would be more appropriate to put those in the section where he has the short-lived illegitimate child in 1819 and have the relationships appear in chronological order. Surely he didn't write his views on women merely about his girlfriends! Levalley (talk) 21:40, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

More influences

More names should be listed as having exerted influence upon Schopenhauer's philosophy; for example, Berkeley (whom Schopenhauer defended against Kant's criticisms), Locke (whom Schopenhauer usually references when debating the origins of abstract ideas or the ontological nature of subject), and perhaps Hume and Spinoza too. (talk) 14:55, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

Views On Women

Flora Weiss' rejection of Schopenhauer says something about how she viewed him, but it does not say anything about how he viewed women. Thus, I propose its removal from the section 'Views On Women'. Wwmargera (talk) 13:50, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

I have moved the section to the bio. I'm not sure why that was so difficult. — goethean 14:02, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
I guess this is a reasonable solution. Thanks. Should probably have thought of it myself. Wwmargera (talk) 14:09, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Date of Birth - Feb 22 or Feb 14?

It appears there are two dates mentioned in the article for Schopenhauer's birth: The opening line says Feb 22, where as the infobox shows Feb 14. There doesn't seem to be any explanation for this in the article. Could someone close to the sources please verify this, and make amends. Thanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:23, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps both the dates — 14 and 22 — are correct, and the explaination may lie in Old Style and New Style dates. I am no expert in such conversions. Inviting help from anyone closer to the subject. (talk) 09:22, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Schopenhauer was not Polish!

The biography section tries to pretend schopenhauer was an ethnic pole with possible turko-mongolian asiatic blood; why are pan-polish racists trying to ruin the article? In no sense was Schopenhauer's ancestral stock Polish in any way. Isn't time the Pan-Polish master race fanatics who worship Polish blood take a back seat to reality? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:06, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

The first language of Artur's mother, Johanna, was Polish which she spoke from childhood, later learning English, French and German. Johanna, an accomplished author, was outspokenly opposed to the Partitions of Poland by Prussia, Austria and Russia. She was an enthusiastic supporter of the Polish political cause and its Republican ideals. Artur learned Polish from his mother as a child and latter German. After the Partitions, Artur like many other Poles absorbed into the Prussian State used the administrative language as required. The Prussian government "encouraged" Poles to Germanicize their names, take an oath of allegiance to the monarchy in Berlin, and abandon all affiliation with the Polish Republic and the Replicanites in exchange for full enfranchisement. The name, "Schopen", is the German transformation of the Sorb, "Scopen" or Polish, "Szczepan". Following the rules in place at that time Sczepanowski beacame Schopenhauer. Simpler Polish monosyllabic surames, easier for Deutsch speakers to pronounce, like Kep (pronounced Kemp)were, except for spelling changes to clarify phonetics, retained. Shopenhauer's maternal family were merchants who originated in the region near Kolno and traveled across Europe to Italy, then Holland, where they settled for a time, later returning to Poland. It was at Gdansk where the middle aged Henryk Florian Szczepanowski (Heinrich Floris Schopenhauer ), Artur's father, met and married the young Johanna. It would be difficult to find a German who did not have Polish or Slavonic roots, Schpenhauer is no exception. (talk) Frank Templar - A German with roots in Hannover —Preceding undated comment added 02:54, 22 June 2010 (UTC).

This is insane. Schopenhauer was above things like this, yet the Wikipedia crowd wants controversy over little details and cant even penetrate schopenhauers actual philosophy. How can Wikipedians fight over such petty inter-tribal ego-boosting as if it mattered to Schopenhauer's philosophy? Does it really matter whether Schopenhauer was German Polish or even black for that matter? What is wrong with the Wikipedians that they cannot transcend their racial prejudices? Can't the German nationalists and the Polish nationalists just leave Schopenhauer unmolested with their tribal rivalries? Perhaps the part about Danzig should be removed just for the sake of lessening the controversy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:23, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

Yet Danzig was a free city at the time under the patronage of the Kingdom of Poland, and Schopenhauer was German-speaking. He's more German than Polish and at any event his parents chose to move to Hamburg when Danzig's independence was threatened. The case for him being Polish is weak at best when he wrote entirely in German and spent all of his professional life in the German cultural milieu. Silly tribalistic arguments are really exceeedingly petty. 11:17, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

Can those readers, who think Schopenhauer's ethnicity is important, write a sentence or two on his thoughts concerning such topics as free will, perception, or the origin of concepts?Lestrade 14:49, 15 October 2007 (UTC)Lestrade
I don't think his ethnicity is that important at all, that's why I said tribalistic arguments are just petty. All I'm noting is that he was part of the German cultural milieu. This is undeniable. He went to German schools, Gottingen, Jena, throughout his life. His mother was part of the Weimar set with Goethe, Novalis and friends. He was German-speaking. He probably considered himself a German cosmopolitan. All this is uncontroversial. As for a sentence or two, here's one: Schopenhauer did not believe in free will in the sense that we are free to will what we will. 01:02, 20 October 2007 (UTC)

Schopenhauer was German, and, on his father's side, of distant Dutch descent. End of story.

Arthur Schopenhauer was Arthur Schopenhauer. But more to the point, Schopenhauer was a product of the Will. Anyone who understands what that and the rest of profoundly deep philosophy of human nature entails will know how utterly trivial national identities were to Schopenhauer and should be to all, for:

"Every nation ridicules other nations, and all are right." Proof Reader (talk) 01:20, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

Ridiculous. Schopenhauer was definately German. Everything porves it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:17, 31 May 2009 (UTC)


This article starts by stating that Schopenhauer philosophy is atheist. Can anybody remember me where did he the denied the existence of god or deity? It seems very relevant to note here that his major book of reference, the Upanishads, are religious texts. Fpenteado (talk)

He didn't expressly deny the existence of God. But he did not assume that there is a God like the God of the Hebrew Old Testament or the Muslim Koran. He considered Kant's Critique of Pure Reason to have shown that the existence of God cannot be proved by logical Reason. In his Fourfold Root, Schop wrote that the existence of God is not accepted as it was in the past because of the increase in scientific knowledge and general level of education and literacy. By the way, all religions are not theistic. The Upanishads do not assume the existence of God.Lestrade (talk) 17:34, 20 March 2010 (UTC)Lestrade
This should be discussed in the article, no? Leading with the "fact" that he is atheistic and including the categories needs support within the article. Otherwise it shouldn't be there. --John (User:Jwy/talk) 16:30, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

Of course Schopenhauer is a atheism. To agree with this it's enough only undestand his world system - there is no place for God. By the way, he puts himself against pantheism and theism in Parerga and Paraliponema. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:30, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

Views on homosexuality & pederasty

...and Aristotle failed to invent the aeroplane. Shame on these philosophers for being born when they were!! 99infosponge88 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 00:33, 9 November 2010 (UTC).

It is typical of many Wikipedia readers of our time to be interested in these topics. This is especially true of younger readers who have been strongly influenced from an early age by our contemporary "culture." By reading his books, they might find that Schopenhauer's thoughts on many other topics are very interesting.Lestrade (talk) 01:26, 2 May 2009 (UTC)Lestrade

I do not agree that the typical wikipedia reader would be interested in what Schopenhauer thought about homosexuality. He was not himself a homosexual, he had no gay friends, he was not particularly interested in the subject himself, his opinion was not considered original or important neither by his contemporaries nor by the current gay movement. Why is this important? -Sensemaker

It is of enormous importance in contemporary society, thanks to the influence of film and television. These media have never stopped advancing their intention to have sexual inversion be considered normal behavior or a civil right.Lestrade (talk) 12:54, 17 May 2010 (UTC)Lestrade

Translation: It is of enormous importance to User:Lestrade's personal campaign to use Wikipedia to fight homosexuality. — goethean 14:23, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

My personal views are of no importance.Lestrade (talk) 14:41, 17 May 2010 (UTC)Lestrade

Your comments above on "contemporary society" are a personal view. If your comments are of no importance, you may remove them from this talk page. — goethean 14:45, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

My comments are not my personal view. They are obvious facts, evident to anyone who has eyes and ears.Lestrade (talk) 17:18, 17 May 2010 (UTC)Lestrade

All one

According to Schopenhauer's philosophy, all creatures are basically the same (compare Vedanta): phenomena of will. Examples of this are continually manifested for those who will see.Lestrade (talk) 20:42, 17 April 2010 (UTC)


In the "Politics" section, the paragraphs regarding Bonnejean and Huysmans, with their wretched translation from French to English, seem to be of no value.Lestrade (talk) 12:50, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

Reference 3.

This supposed quote by Einstein doesn't sound like it is correctly translated. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:47, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Reference on animal welfare

Sorry this is my first time contributing to wikipedia and I'm not exactly sure how what to do. However, I see that in the Animal Welfare section there is a citation needed for Schopenhauer's disapproval of calling animals "it". It is contained in his book "the two fundamental problems of ethics". Here is a link to the book on google books:

It is on page 241. Just thought i'd leave this in so someone who knows what they're doing can put this citation in. Thanks! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:34, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

Influence on Nietzsche

It would be worth noting that Nietzsche later abandoned Schopenhauer's views (Schopenhauer's denial of will vs. Nietzsche's embrace of will etc.) and was rather critical of him. (e.g. the soothsayer in Thus Spoke Zarathustra) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:35, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

From the first time that he read Schopenhauer to the last days of his life, Nietzsche was influenced by and reacted to Schopenhauer's doctrine of the denial of the will. At first, Nietzsche tried to practice complete renunciation of the world. Naturally, he couldn't achieve this because it is humanly impossible. With his subsequent ascetic way of life, however, he approximated the doctrine. Eventually, Nietzsche tried to convince readers that life was valuable and worth living despite its emptiness and usually horrible ending. This was also a reaction to Schopenhauer's doctrine, in being a completely contrary antithesis. It is interesting to note that, despite his opposition to Schopenhauer's claim that compassion toward humans and animals is the basis of morality, Nietzsche finally ended his sane years by tearfully embracing a horse that was being whipped by its master. Thus Nietzsche's mind, to his last sane moment, was influenced by Schopenhauer. In this case, it was the doctrine of sympathy and compassion, not Nietzsche's own teaching regarding masters and slaves from his Genealogy of Morals.Lestrade (talk) 15:41, 30 January 2011 (UTC)Lestrade


I have removed Søren Kierkegaard under influenced. Kierkgaard didn't read Schopenhauer until after all his main works were completed. All we have that mentions him are some pages in his journal. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:15, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Fichte does not belong under influences anymore than would Hegel.

This is altogether nonsense. Yes he attended the philosophaster's lectures, but he was highly contemptuous and critical of Fichte and his teachings. The influences section is not meant to include negative influences, i.e. not individuals that the author protested or crusaded against. It is an affront to Schopenhauer to list Fichte among the actual influences to Schopenhauer's thought, and I have therefore removed his name from the list. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:03, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

In that case we should be using the word 'inspirations'. How can one ignore the negative influences? Critical thinkers are evidently more interested in those they disagree with. Oscar Wilde said that when someone finally agrees with him, then he begins to doubt himself. Aero13792468 (talk) 01:05, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

Disparaging to Germans

In the Politics section it reads: He wrote many disparaging remarks about Germany and the Germans. A typical example is, "For a German it is even good to have somewhat lengthy words in his mouth, for he thinks slowly, and they give him time to reflect."

As much as I like this quote, to me it doesn't convincing demonstrate his disdain. Is saying Germans think slowly necessarily an insult, and not simply an observation? The same is said of Tibetans by Tibetans, of whom many consider the familiar westerner's 'butterfly mind' childish and dangerously unstable. Aero13792468 (talk) 01:05, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

Schopenhauer and his Mother

Will Durant's "The Story of Philosophy" pointed out that Schopenhauer's mother attempted to kill him by throwing him down the stairs. He survived and bitterly informed her that the world would know her but only through him. The apparent reason for why this woman hated her son so much is because she had literary pretensions and saw her son as a rival after Goethe declared that the son would one day be a great man. I think we can plainly see the reason for Schopenhauer's misogyny: he had experienced a deep hatred from his mother. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:07, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

It's very bold to claim to know what is hidden in another person's mind. The mother's motivation may not even have been known to her. If Durant was correct, then the incident provides a neat counter to the incident between Schopenhauer and Frau Marquet.Lestrade (talk) 17:45, 13 June 2011 (UTC)Lestrade
Durant made an inference but I do think it is a very logical and reasonable one. If a man has not experienced love from his Mother and instead experienced her hatred, that is bound to mark him - not just his psyche but also how other people view him. I would not say that the claim is "bold". It seems quite reasonable, don't you think? At any rate, I think it worth citing and quoting Will Durant if for no other reason that to provide information. As to what happened concerning Frau Marquet, that is a different story. Personally, I suspect Marquet's claims to be very overblown. (talk) 21:16, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

She might have instigated the incident in order to sue for personal injury. It could have been the 19th century equivalent of slipping in the supermarket in order to file a suit. Schopenhauer's mother expressed love and concern in her letters to him. However, he depressed her with his pessimism. She wanted to enjoy her life. Arthur Grinch might have been hard to support at times. I doubt that she committed assault and battery on him, though.Lestrade (talk) 01:27, 15 June 2011 (UTC)Lestrade

As I said, there is the Will Durant reference for Schopenhauer's mother attempting murder. Enjoy the read. It's a very good book . As for Marquet, there were unscrupulous people back then as now. You decide. Arthur was a pessimist but he was also sincere. I'm a fan. There is a claim that he had dinner at the "Englisher Hof" where he entertained the same ritual: he would take out a gold coin and place it on the table only to recover the gold coin before leaving. An indignant waiter lusting the coin for himself asked for the significance of this ritual. Arthur answered that it was the silent outcome of a wager he made with himself: he would leave the gold coin in the poor box if the gentlemen at that inn would speak of anything else but horses, dogs or women. Now that's a man with charm! :-) Get the Durant book. It's an enjoyable read! (talk) 22:51, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

In Durant's The Story of Philosophy, Chapter VII, Section II, he wrote, "…the mother pushed her son and rival down the stairs…." Durant then claimed that Schopenhauer was "doomed to pessimism" because "a man who has not known a mother's love—and worse, has known a mother's hatred—has no cause to be infatuated with the world." Schopenhauer's condition was probably more complex than that, but I speculate that Durant's diagnosis was most likely very close to the truth. However, I am skeptical that she pushed him down the stairs. In Wikipedia, though, we are supposed to record what appears in print, not our own personal opinions.Lestrade (talk) 01:43, 16 June 2011 (UTC)Lestrade

I've read all the core, academic biographies—Safranski, Copleston, Magee, et. al.—and nowhere is this incident mentioned. Perhaps Durant, who writes popular histories, is mixing up the Marquet incident with S's mother. In any event, I'd like to see a second, confirming reference before putting it in the article. ~ Alcmaeonid (talk) 01:54, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
As far as I know, Will Durant is the only person who ever claimed that Johanna Schopenhauer pushed her son, Arthur, down the stairs. His Story of Philosophy is a valuable book, but he might have gone too far when he made this allegation.Lestrade (talk) 12:38, 16 June 2011 (UTC)Lestrade
I would check the references in Durant's book. His book is credible and well-known. I doubt he would invent such a fact. (talk) 16:46, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

Durant gives no reference for his statement. However, he often cites William Wallace's Life of Schopenhauer.Lestrade (talk) 18:41, 16 June 2011 (UTC)Lestrade

Well i'm definitely curious now. Anyone have access to that book? I read U. of Toronto library as a possible source. Does anyone have access to that book? (talk) 17:02, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
Actually Renee Safier composed the song "Schopenhauer's Blues" with lyrics:
No friend in the world in that infinity between one and none
Lookin' over the chip on his shoulder
Arthur beware of your mom!
She sent you tumblin' down the stairs
I have a pdf of Wallace's book and did searches on "stairs" & "mother" and found nothing vis-a-vis the alleged incident. As you probably can guess, song lyrics are not acceptable sources. ~ Alcmaeonid (talk) 20:24, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

On page 79, Wallace records information on the last days of Schopenhauer's residence with his mother. There is no mention of stairs. Durant seems to have fabricated the event.Lestrade (talk) 15:43, 18 June 2011 (UTC)Lestrade

A google search on Schopenhauer + mother + stairs does produce some sites which mention his Mother pushing him down the stairs. E.g. [7] Is it possible that Durant's book is the source of all this "common knowledge"? (talk) 07:02, 19 June 2011 (UTC)

Yes, it is possible. It is even probable. Durant's book was in its 8th edition in 1962, and there were later editions afterward. Many people read the book.Lestrade (talk) 22:14, 19 June 2011 (UTC)Lestrade

It has hard to imagine that someone as careful and as conscientious as Will Durant could have made such a mistake. He wasn't really even that much of a fan of Schopenhauer. (talk) 02:54, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Durant considered S. to be a major philosopher of great importance, as is evident by the long section on S. in his history. We don't know Durant's inner thoughts and motives. We only know what he wrote. It seems very probable that he made a mistake when he wrote that Johanna pushed her son, Arthur, down the stairs.Lestrade (talk) 14:49, 11 July 2011 (UTC)Lestrade

He wrote not only a chapter but an entire book: A Guide to Schopenhauer, Girard, Kansas: The Haldeman-Julius Company, 1924. The critical question remains: why is this incident never mentioned in any of the core biographies or the extensive array of academic articles? I know its hard to believe that Durant could have made such a crucial error but without a second supporting citation it cannot go into the article. Remember Durant wrote popular histories, not subject to the kind of scrutiny the academics were given. ~ Alcmaeonid (talk) 15:22, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Schopenhauer and antisemitism


First time here. I'm simply curious to find out why there is no mention anywhere in the article about Schopenhauer's antisemitism and his influence on Hitler. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Borowczyk76 (talkcontribs) 20:08, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

Why don't you enlighten us?Lestrade (talk) 02:31, 8 May 2011 (UTC)Lestrade

Forget about it. Sorry, this has been addressed elsewhere. I wasn't able to find the original thread until now. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Borowczyk76 (talkcontribs) 08:25, 12 May 2011 (UTC)

Schopenhauer hurt himself by making several nasty comments about Jews. After what happened in his country 70 years ago, the comments are difficult to dismiss. One of Schopenhauer's closest and most respected friends was the Jewish physician Dr. David Ascher.
Hitler, along with thousands of other Germans, read Schopenhauer. Hitler wasn't influenced by Schopenhauer's morality of compassion or his doctrine of the renunciation of the will.Lestrade (talk) 12:16, 12 May 2011 (UTC)Lestrade
any prove that hitler ever read Schopenhauer, or is it just an unsourced claim ??? (talk) 19:41, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

Incomplete presentation of influence

The article suggests that Wittgenstein was only influenced by Schopenhauer’s epistemology. This neglects the influence that Schopenhauer’s ethics had on Wittgenstein. Wittgenstein’s behavior for most of his adult life was affected by Schopenhauer’s discussions of virtue, sainthood, morality, and selflessness.Lestrade (talk) 23:20, 11 April 2012 (UTC)Lestrade

Go ahead and add in some cited material. Fix the problem. ~ Alcmaeonid (talk) 13:49, 12 April 2012 (UTC)


Many websites mention the following as Schopenhauer quotes. Does anyone have attributions/sources?

A man's delight in looking forward to and hoping for some particular satisfaction is a part of the pleasure flowing out of it, enjoyed in advance. But this is afterward deducted, for the more we look forward to anything the less we enjoy it when it comes.

Great men are like eagles, and build their nest on some lofty solitude.
Charlesjsharp (talk) 12:57, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

Almost every sentence that he wrote is quotable.Lestrade (talk) 11:42, 1 May 2012 (UTC)Lestrade

That seems too subjective a comment for this page. Beingsshepherd (talk) 04:20, 5 January 2013 (UTC)Beingsshepherd.

The last part mentions modernized Schopenhauerstudies, but it fails to provide any references for the claim, and I haven't seen anything about Schopenhauer, apart from biographies etc., but nothing new. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:13, 6 November 2012 (UTC)


'Therefore, he gave university life a shot.' - Sounds a little too colloquial for an encyclopedia.

Beingsshepherd (talk) 11:56, 9 January 2013 (UTC)Beingsshepherd

Philosophy of the 'Will'

I would like to expand this section to give a more comprehensive account of AS's philosophy of the Will. I do not think it is sufficiently informative as it stands. Does anyone have any objection to the following reformulation:

The concept of Will is central to Schopenhauer's thought. He reformulates Kant's doctrines of the Noumenon and the Phenomenon. Will is identified as the Noumenon, the 'thing-in-itself' of Kant, which is the transcendent ground, the 'inner kernel', of existence. The Noumenon can never be, in itself, directly known by humans; this is because human senses and intellect are necessarily conditioned by the sphere of the Phenomenon in which they operate[1]. Will is what brings all things into manifestation in the phenomenal world; both the physical and biological worlds are objectifications or representations of Will.

All representation, be it of whatever kind it may, all object,is phenomenon. But only the will is thing-in-itself; as such it is not representation at all, but toto genere different therefrom. It is that of which all representation, all object, is the phenomenon, the visibility, the objectivity. It is the innermost essence, the kernel, of every particular thing and also of the whole. It appears in every blindly acting force of nature, and also in the deliberate conduct of man, and the great difference between the two concerns only the degree of the manifestation, not the inner nature of what is manifested.[2]

This process is instanced through the Platonic concept of Idea, through which the Will takes phenomenal form as definite grades of objectification ranging from inorganic to organic matter[3], giving rise to the multiplicity and diversity of phenomena[4]. The world is therefore 'by its whole nature, through and through will, and at the same time through and though representation, and beyond this there is nothing'[5]. In terms of modern physics, the noumenal will of Schopenhauer may be identified with the undifferentiated energy which imbues the universe[6].

The noumenal Will expresses itself in living things, including humans, as the Will to Life (‘’Wille zum Leben’’). It expresses itself in inorganic matter as the 'striving' observed in physical processes such as gravity[7]. The Will to Life works through the individual as a blind urge to survive and reproduce. Schopenhauer characterises life as a struggle for existence which necessarily entails suffering, a 'universal craving for life' which is determined by mortality.

'The individual has for nature only an indirect value, in so far as it is a means for maintaining the species. Apart from this, its existence is a matter of indifference to nature; in fact, nature herself leads it to destruction as soon as it ceases to be fit for that purpose'[8].

Thus sex and survival are the two primary drives for the individual. This realisation led Schopenhauer to a key theme of his work, an investigation of human motivation.

Schopenhauer believed that humans were basically motivated by will and desire, with intellect acting in a secondary capacity: the intellect 'does not penetrate into the secret workshop of the will's decisions'[9]. In contradistinction to other Idealists such as Hegel, Schopenhauer posited no transcendent soul or 'knowing consciousness' existing independently from the life of the body[10]. Accordingly, "Man can indeed do what he wants, but he cannot will what he wants" citation needed; ‘the will cannot be taught’[11]. There is no empirical freedom of will, for decisions are taken by will according to the laws of each person's character and inner nature, and the intellect is a spectator in the will’s decisions[12]. Humans are bound to an endless wheel of suffering, of striving and temporary satisfaction, a fate they share with all living things on a global scale [13]. Faced with their existential predicament, they have the option of cultivating an attitude of stoic resignation [14] and indifference towards their own fate, which may include pursuing the virtues of asceticism and chastity[15], as well as extending compassion to each other and all living things.

The transcendental idealism of Schopenhauer immediately commits it to an ethical attitude, unlike the purely epistemological concerns of Descartes and Berkeley.

Nietzsche was greatly influenced by Schopenhauer's philosophy of Will, while developing it in a different direction as the 'Will to Power'.

  1. ^ Payne, The World as Will and Representation, Vol. II.17, p.185
  2. ^ Payne, ibid, Vol. I.21, p.110
  3. ^ Payne, ibid, Vol. I.25, p.26
  4. ^ Payne, ibid, Vol. I.28, p.153
  5. ^ Payne, ibid, Vol. I.29, p.162
  6. ^ Magee 1997, ibid, pp.138-9
  7. ^ Payne, ibid, Vol. I.29, p.164
  8. ^ Payne, ibid, Vol. II.28, p.351
  9. ^ Payne, ibid, Vol. II.19, p.210
  10. ^ Payne, ibid, Vol. II.18, p.198
  11. ^ Payne, ibid, Vol. I.55, p.294
  12. ^ Payne, ibid, Vol.I.55, p.290
  13. ^ Payne, ibid, Vol. II.56, p.309
  14. ^ Payne, ibid, Vol.II.16, p.157
  15. ^ Payne, ibid, Vol. I.68, p.380

Tall-Timothy (talk)19:24, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

The main discussion of his thought is at The World as Will and Representation and other places. — goethean 19:35, 1 May 2013 (UTC)


In the "Criticism" section, the following appears: "In Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, Schopenhauer is one of several philosophers whose writings are rejected by Levin. Tolstoy himself, although fascinated with Schopenhauer's work, is known to have considered his views 'hopeless, dark and pessimistic.' " These sentences may be misleading. Tolstoy had one of his characters reject Schopenhauer’s doctrine. This may be true of the character Levin, but it may not have been true of the writer Tolstoy. Therefore, Levin’s rejection can’t be understood as being Tolstoy’s criticism of Schopenhauer. Tolstoy, as it is stated, was "fascinated with Schopenhauer’s work." This is an understatement. As a result of reading the ethical section of this philosopher’s admittedly "hopeless, dark and pessimistic" works, Tolstoy found a non–theological appeal in the New Testament Gospels. Tolstoy also adopted an extreme asceticism as a result of reading Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Representation, Volume I, Book 4, and he ended his life as a wandering monk. Lestrade (talk) 22:57, 30 July 2013 (UTC)Lestrade

Agreed, it's not a criticism, but it is an interesting cultural reception of schopenhauer's work which can be included if it can be sourced to a secondary work. I'll remove the content for now. — goethean 23:37, 30 July 2013 (UTC)