Talk:Arthur Schopenhauer/Archive 1

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Ahh, dear friends of philosophy,

I really do have problems to understand most of the discussions below. Does it really matter if Schopenhauer or Einstein were of German "origin" ? Their mothertongue, and more important, their motherwit was German, but both their _thoughts_ were _universal_. So why should we quarrel about (histo-geographical) questions like "where did he come from" and "where did he go to" ? Everyone expresses his thoughts in the language that he feels is the closest to him and his thoughts. So, please, calm down and start to think about your own language, and situation. (Guess what my closest language is ;)

Which revolution? --MichaelTinkler

He might be referring to happenings in Frankfurt/Germany in 1848. I don't know much about this, but there was some form of revolts originating in the working class at the time. Among the demands were freedom of the press, freedom of assembly etc. I'm not sure about what Schopenhauer's philosophy gained from this, but he himself was strongly opposed to the revolution (and afraid of his possessions). Just had a brief look at Rudiger Safranski's "Schopenhauer and the wild years of philosophy". I'll try updating this entry when I get some time to freshen up my knowledge a bit. --LarsErikKolden

Regarding the influence from Schelling, could someone please enlighten me? As far as I have read in a couple of biographies, Schelling was a member of Schopenhauer's hate trio, namely Schelling, Fichte and Hegel. It might be that Schopenhauer read Schelling and had some common views with the German idealists, but I'd be surprised if this influence wasn't mainly from Kant (and actually Plato, but that goes for most of the German philosophers, I guess). I see now that Schelling also had a conception of an irrational will, but only as a part of the Deity, which is something quite different than the role it plays in Schopenhauer's philosophy. --LarsErikKolden

Partitions They surrendered only after the king, seeing the hopeless situation, freed them from their obligation of allegiance and left the city. After the 1st partition of Poland, in which the Prussian seized the surroundings of Gdañsk, Joanna Schopenhauer, mother of the philosopher, wrote: "At this morning calamity has fallen like vampyre on my native city, deemed to disaster, and sucked its marrow for long years till the ultimate dilapidation".

His father, Heinrich Floris Schopenhauer, the youngest of a family to which the mother had brought the germs of mental malady, was a man of strong will and originality, and so proud of the independence of his native town that when Danzig in 1793 surrendered to the Prussians he and his whole establishment withdrew to Hamburg~ Cautious 13:47, 2 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Schopenhauers were enemies of Prussia.

Portraits of Schopenhauer

You know, now we have three portraits of Schopenhauer: the original drawing, the painting, and the old engraving that I put on my user page in order to have something to do with it. I know he was such a handsome devil and all, but I'm not sure we need quite so many. -- Smerdis of Tlön 15:00, 2 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Gdansk/Danzig and Poland

According to the article on Gdansk, which is apparently the subject of a current edit war, from 1772 to 1793 Gdansk was a free and independent city, apparently governed by ethnic Germans, and surrounded by Prussia. It was not part of Poland when Schopenhauer was born. Whatever the city's relations were with the former Poland, that particular polity was on its last legs in the late 18th century, and disappeared for quite some time in 1793. The current phrasing that puts the city in "what is now Poland" strikes me as the best way to put that complicated business. Smerdis of Tlön 19:58, 21 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Well, does it mean that we should name all people born in the USSR after 1985 as born in Russia just because that country was on its' last legs? Halibutt 01:02, 22 Apr 2004 (UTC)

My understanding is that Danzig had been governed by its German-speaking elites for centuries before the first partition in 1772. After the first partition, this situation continued, but the juridical position as officially part of the Kingdom of Poland remained unchanged. But this may be incorrect. john 02:15, 22 Apr 2004 (UTC)

The problem with the article as it currently stands is that to someone who is unaware that Gdansk is Danzig, it suggests that Schopenhauer was born in Gdansk, but that his family fled from somewhere else. I know I am asking for it by even commenting, or saying anything other than that I wish the accursèd city would be swallowed up by a giant sinkhole so that we can methodically blot out any records of its ever having existed, but it seems to me that a subtler solution is needed here than mechanically applying one name or the other based on the date. Smerdis of Tlön 00:56, 15 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I concur. Personally, I think the city is essentially called "Danzig" for the whole period 1308-1945, and Wikipedia should refer to it as such. But I don't think that'll fly. john k 00:59, 15 Jun 2004 (UTC)

No, that's against the compromise we reached at Talk:Gdansk. Also, you moved the article a year backwards. I suggest we simply added cross-links to both names (born in [[Danzig|Gdansk]], fled from [[Gdansk|Danzig]]). This way:
  • Anyone will have an opportunity to check what is the city in question
  • The explanation will be there, one would only have to point his mouse over the link to get a hint.

How about that? Halibutt 01:17, Jun 15, 2004 (UTC)

My understanding was that the compromise was that we use both names, but primarily "Gdansk". So what's wrong with "Gdansk (Danzig)" in the first use? john k 01:56, 15 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Apparently you took part in a totally different discussion. Both the option that gained the most support and the options we Talk:Gdansk#Summation we all (?) agreed upon were about naming the city with one name at the time. I'm worried that you hadn't notice that. Halibutt 08:22, Jun 15, 2004 (UTC)

To say that Schopenhauer was Polish born and that he was born in Gdank is very misleading. He was an enthnic German and that area was dominated by Prussia and later controlled by it. When Prussia received it, the Schopenhauers didn't move to Poland, they moved to Germany. Schopenhauer was a German, he wrote in German, studied in Germany, was born of German parents, lived and died in Germany. Erwin Rommel's wife was also born in Gdansk, and I doubt that Rommel would have married a Pole. Was this article written by a Polish nationalist, if there is such a thing?

big barrel o' POV

The last section "Common Misconceptions" needs a going over imo.

It seems to gradually shift from NPOV, to that of a book review, and finally to what sounds like a desperate attempt to clear Schopenhauer's name.

  • "Nietzsche seems to have made this misinterpretation and many gain a distorted view of Schopenhauer from reading Nietzsche"
  • "Nietzsche also claimed that Schopenhauer did not recognise that suffering had a redemptive quality, yet his recognition of this seems blatantly clear in part 4 of The World as Will and Representation."
  • "Russell produced a very poor article on Schopenhauer in his History of Western Philosophy."
  • "It has often been thought that Schopenhauer believed in solipsism. He actually said that solipsism could only be believed by those in a madhouse."
  • etc.

-- sidd

I've altered it a little bit, as regards the last two points. I don't think that the section was overly opinionated; Schopenhauer is someone who has been badly misrepresented for a long time. Perhaps, calling Bertrand Russell's article "poor" is inappropriate, but it is not wrong to say that his article was "inaccurate": check for yourself. As for the solipsism bit, I've added a quote to justify the fact that Schopenhauer was not a solipsist, which I always thought was an odd misinterpretation of him. Ed

...this is mistaken. russell claimed that schopenhauer was wrong in equating his asceticism with christian asceticism, not that schopenhauer never equated them. reread the essay, if you like. anyway, i've deleted the section.

Suggest 7 possible wiki links and 1 possible backlink for Arthur Schopenhauer.

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  • Can link conscious mind: ... They arise prior to reflection. They arise even when the conscious mind would prefer to hold them at bay. The rational mind is for... (link to section)
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Feedback: I like it, I hate it, Please don't link toLinkBot 11:33, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC)

During Schopenhauer's lifetime, the city in which he was born was a predominantly German-speaking city called Danzig, which is the name by which it was known everywhere outside the Slavic world until after the territorial changes of 1945. As a result of colonization begun by the Teutonic Order, the city had been predominantly German since at least the 15th century, although the original settlement in the 10th century was Slavonic or Polish.

The Polish-American historian Oscar Halecki, in "A History of Poland" (1992), discussing relations between the Teutonic Order and the Polish Crown, writes that in 1457: "The German element predominated in … the town of Danzig, in which the majority of the population was at this epoch already German...."

It is true that Danazig, though ethnically German, was under Polish overloardship in the 16th and 17th centuries, but this did not change its essentially German ethnic composition, which continued into recent history. During Schopenhauer's lifetime, Danzig was part of the Kingdom of Prussia, the north-German state that was to unite Germany in 1870. Before the Second World War, the Free City of Danzig, as it was constituted between the world wars, was 96 percent German, according to figures accepted by the League of Nations.

To say that Schopenhauer was "born in Gdansk, Poland," is totally erroneous, because at the time the city was not part of Poland and was not called Gdansk -- except by Polish nationalists. Schopenhauer himself, of course, was German and wrote in German.

One can no more say Schopenhauer was "born in Gdansk, Poland," than one can say Kant was "born in Kaliningrad, Russia," since during Kant's lifetime (1724-1804), and until 1945-46, the city was Königsberg, Prussia, part of Germany.

User:sca 7dec04

The basic problem with saying that he was born "in Gdansk, Poland" -- which seems to be what whoever edits this passage rigidly insists on -- is that English speakers are likely to get the impression that Schopenauer was Polish.

I fail to understand why an entry about someone who lived in a different historical era has to be written using geographic refernces that pertain only to the current era. This Wikipedia policy seems to be imposed on us English speakers by those who have an agenda that has nothing to do with historical accuracy.

If for some reason the name of my hometown, Minneapolis, were changed to "Water City," I would not stop saying I grew up in Minneapolis. Similarly, Schopenhauer was not born in "Gdansk, Poland," he was born in Danzig (like Daniel Fahrenheit, like Gunter Grass, etc., etc.).

Sca 17:39, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Schopenhauer would have called himself German

The problem with saying he came from what we now call Poland, is because Schopenhauer called it Germany. Schopenhauer was a German, he came from Danzig. Danzig, today, is called Gdansk, Poland. Just because things were drawn up wrong (yes, an opinion, but this is a discussion page) after the war doesn't change Schopenhauer's heritage.

Sca wrote, some time ago: To say that Schopenhauer was "born in Gdansk, Poland," is totally erroneous, because at the time the city was not part of Poland and was not called Gdansk -- except by Polish nationalists. Schopenhauer himself, of course, was German and wrote in German.

This is incorrect. In 1788, Danzig/Gdansk was, in fact, still officially part of Poland, although it was an enclave not connected to the rest of Poland. It would remain so until 1793, when it was annexed by Prussia in the 2nd partition. Since it was, even as part of Poland, inhabited by ethnic Germans who called it something more like 'Danzig' than like 'Gdansk', I think "Danzig" is more appropriate, but you're overstating the case. john k 21:41, 11 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Whatever. As someone else already remarked, he was a German philosopher. Calling him a Polish-born philosopher in the introductory paragraph is quite misleading—and also completely unnecessary, given that the next paragraph quite clearly states that he was born in Gdánsk in Poland. Why can't people just quit fighting about this? What's the point? Is it important at all? Lupo 08:55, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
If Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist (and not a Jewish, or American - "German-born" added by German users), so Schopenhauer was a Polish-born (German language philosopher) and not a German philosopher.--Emax 09:15, Jan 19, 2005 (UTC)
Albert Einstein is quite irrelevant here. But you do make a point: the essential characteristic is that he was a German language philosopher. I've changed the link in the introductory paragraph accordingly. What passport he had (if any!) seems quite irrelevant to me—the man is noteable for his work, not for having been of German, Polish, Prussian, or Klingon nationality. Lupo 09:26, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
And BTW: the "German-born" over in Einstein had been added by an AOL user on January 9, 2005. Lupo 09:40, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
[[1]] 17:50, Dec 17, 2004 (Ulm is southern German city)--Emax 10:27, Jan 19, 2005 (UTC)
for reference, Encyclopedia Britannica list him as German philosopher, born in "Danzig, Prussia [now Gdansk, Pol.]". All foreign language wikis I checked also list him as german (tysk filosof, deutscher Philosoph, Filósofo alemán, philosophe allemand, filosofi tedeschi, Duits filosoof, ドイツの哲学, tysk filosof), and, guess what, the POLISH wiki also calls him a filozof niemiecki!!! That is, of course, before you're going to change it in the next minute, I assume. -- Chris 73 Talk 09:37, Jan 19, 2005 (UTC)

Just added German philosopher born in Gdańsk, Poland to the intro as an attempted compromise. For me, the dispute is about his birthplace being poland or not, but I insist on the german philosopher. Every reference i checked listed him as german. -- Chris 73 Talk 05:35, Jan 20, 2005 (UTC)

Saying that Schopenhauer was born in Gdansk, Poland, is obfuscation, even though it may be argued that the city -- then populated by Germans and known as Danzig -- was "part of Poland" in legal sense, since it was not yet politically part of Prussia.

Old Danzig was within the geogaphic realm of Germanness -- what the Germans call Deutschtum -- at the time, and Schopenhauer and his family most certainly considered themselves German. If the Poles wish to say he was born in Gdansk, Poland, let them have their say on the POLISH Wikipedia -- thereby salving their nationalistic touchiness -- but not here. This is an English-speakers' page, and as has been noted repeatedly elsewhere on Wiki, the city in question was known throughout the Western world as Danzig until 1945-46, when it was transformed by the ethnic cleansing of war and expulsions, and the settlment of Polish newcomers, into the Polish city of Gdansk.

The fact that the Poles historically always referred to the city as Gdansk, even when it was inhabited by Germans, does not change the fact that it was generally known as Danzig during Schopenhauer's lifetime. Ditto for Kant and Königsberg / Kaliningrad -- though I don't think any Russians are so obtuse as to argue that Kant was born in "Kaliningrad, Russia." Good grief!

Sca 19:42, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Kant was born in Prussia, Schopenhauer not (so simple, but so hard to understand for some people), dear brutaly explused, poor victim of ethnic cleansing and defender of "Deutschtum" Sca :)--Emax 22:01, Jan 21, 2005 (UTC)

So, was Schopenhauer German, or not? Let's see, what was the original title of his seminal work? Oh yes, "Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung." Sca 14:49, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Without taking part in this discussion, I'd like to point out that most probably my thesis this year will have the title of Conocimiento de soldados polacos de las Brigadas Internacionales en Espańa contemporranea. Does it mean I'm a Spaniard? :D Halibutt 23:42, Jan 31, 2005 (UTC)
One work in spanish does not make you spanish. Writing and speaking only in spanish would - at a time without passports - probably gives you a good change of being spanish. BTW, even the polish wikipedia calls him a German philosoph. I any case, about the city of birth I would support mentioning both names, especially since Danzig was often used at that time, especially in Gdansk. -- Chris 73 Talk 00:01, Feb 1, 2005 (UTC)
So add the whole history of Gdansk in this article...--Emax 00:08, Feb 1, 2005 (UTC)
No, only the time of his birth is of interest, it helps explaining why he wrote in (was) german -- Chris 73 Talk 00:13, Feb 1, 2005 (UTC)

Compromise attempt

There seem to be a few points of dispute on this page: (1) Schopenhauer's nationality, (2) The name of his birthplace, (3) The ethnic mix of his birthplace. As with most disputes, if there is a controversy, it should be mentioned on the article page.

  1. Pretty much all references call him a German Philosopher, including encyclopedia britannica and the polish wikipedia.
  2. I am OK with calling it GDansk, if Danzig is also mentined in brackets or so. Danzig is still commonly used in English, this would help people googling for topics related to Danzig. Also, at that time the city was commonly known under that name.
  3. The City seems to have a large german population at that time, of which Schopenhauer was most likely a part of. This should be mentioned in the article, maybe not necessarily in the intro paragraph, but maybe in the Life section. This would be helpful for other users to understand where Schopenhauer came from.

I hope this compromise attempt gets somehwere. We can't go on reverting each other forever -- Chris 73 Talk 00:49, Feb 1, 2005 (UTC)

Addon: Actually, it seems his ethnic heritage was Dutch ([2] and [3]). That can also be added. -- Chris 73 Talk 01:16, Feb 1, 2005 (UTC)
OK, i see that a compromise with you is not possible (and i dont really wonder, since your comments on user:H.J. talk page User_talk:, your support of her and now of Sca). We should go back to the version with Polish-born--Emax 01:00, Feb 1, 2005 (UTC)
My preference would be that the city name be Danzig, everywhere, largely because this is also the English name of the city, contains no characters untypeable on a standard English language keyboard, and creates fewer pronunciation issues than Gdansk. The trouble would appear to arise with Polish nationalists, who are eager to impose their spelling. Besides, by rights the whole Baltic coastline should belong to Sweden anyways. Schopenhauer's works suggest that he read English, French, Spanish, and Latin; they give no evidence that he read Polish, but then again I'm not sure that there was a great deal of Polish literature in print in the early 19th century. Still, it warms my heart that regard for Schopenhauer is so high that folks are eager to claim him for their ethnic group; for too long his philosophy was out of fashion. I don't care deeply enough about tribal politics to resist one way or another -- Smerdis of Tlön 15:37, 2 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Halibutt's sidenote

Sorry but I can't resist commenting on Senor Halibutt's sly comment above. Dear esteemed Halibutt: I am quite impressed with your language skills, as I've said elsewhere, but not with your skill at logic. You are Polish not because you can write a thesis in Polish (nor does writing one in Spanish make you Spanish); you are Polish because you grew up speaking Polish with your parents -- it was the language you learned first and foremost, your mother tongue. Also, of course, you are Polish because you grew up in Poland -- BUT -- Suppose for a moment that you had grown up in an ethnically Polish city that for various historical reasons happened at the time to be part of Germany politically? Understand, in this scenario you still would have grown up learning Polish as your first language in the the environment of a Polish family, friends, school, etc., but inside Germany. Now, would that have made you German? Naturlich nicht -- not unless you decided on your own to adopt German nationality, speak German, Germanize your name, and so forth; at that point, you might be termed a Polish-German. (Not, of course, that you ever would do such a thing!)

In the U.S., we have a long history of Polish-Americans, German-Americans, Italian-Americans, etc. These are people who came from one culture and adopted, or adapted themselves to, another. By contrast, consider the case of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who lived in the U.S. for 17 years but never learned English and never adopted American ways. He remained Russian and ultimately returned to Russia.

Now, as far as I'm aware, Schopenhauer never adopoted Polish nationality, never wrote in Polish, and so on. (Ditto for Gunter Grass, also born in what then was Danzig; who was expelled from Danzig, and who today lives in ... Lubeck, I believe.) They both are obviously German personages, though both may be said to have been born in a place to which Poland had some political title at the time of their births (a less clear one in the case of Grass, who was born in 1927 in what then called itself the Freie Stadt Danzig).

But of course, this whole discussion really has nothing to do with Schopenhauer or anyone else born in Danzig; it has to do with the history of Danzig, a city which no longer exists, having been superseded by Gdansk, a different city in the same location. The insistence by some Poles that the Danzig that existed for roughly 600 years, until 1945, should always be referred to as Gdansk because that has been the name of its successor city since 1945 makes as much sense logically as your playful suggestion above that writing a thesis in Spanish makes you Spanish. Naming the city Gdansk and peopling it with Poles who call it Gdansk does not make the former city of Danzig Gdansk retroactively, before 1945. (And don't start in about how Poles always called it Gdansk; that's not the point.)

You yourself have acknowledged in communications to me that you realize old Danzig was predominantly German, even when part of Poland juridically before 1795. Why not tell it like it was in a supposed "encyclopedia" entry? Why obfuscate? Why obscure? It's history! What's done is done! Just be honest about it! Then move on with glorious Gdansk (pardon my lack of accent marks) into the glorious Polish future as part of united EUROPE! Which, by the way, includes Germany.

Sca 04:24, 2 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Dear Sca, apparently I forgot to make it clear enough: I have no intention of joining this discussion. I have my views on Polish nationality (as opposed to Polish ethnicity), which are probably the results of my own background. However, I don't care much about how the nationality or ethnicity of Schopenhauer is explained in this article. I've read most of his works and I must say I didn't like his style.
My comment above was just another example of my favourite game: nitpicking. If you didn't like my example - here's another one. My great-grandpa was born in Poland, near a small town of Pułtusk (70 km north of Warsaw). He barely spoke Polish since he was a Jew, probably of Armenian roots. Also, the city at that time belonged to Russia. So, we can say that he was Russian-born. We might also say that he was a Pole. Finally, he was a Jew. Is there a contradiction between those statements? Not at all. In my humble opionion, the Polish ethnicity is not the sine qua non necessity to be a Pole. But this is getting OT.
As to Schopenhauer - I believe his case is very similar to that of my grandpa: he was born in Poland (like it or not, the city's inhabitants themselves decided to join Poland). He was born to a German family. He was born to a family of Dutch descent. So he was a Pole and a German and, if he felt so, a Dutch as well. Or, if you prefer a different wording, to me he was a Polish-born German philosopher of Dutch descent. For me there's no contradiction between those statements.
But, as I said above, I don't want my comment to become an argument in this discussion, I support neither version. If you would like to respond to my comment - please do so on my talk page. Halibutt 10:24, Feb 2, 2005 (UTC)


The page is now protected due to the constant reversions. For the disputed topics, see #Compromise attempt above. I have also created a subpage Arthur Schopenhauer/Temp where a compromise can be worked out. -- Chris 73 Talk 05:57, Feb 2, 2005 (UTC)

Pardon ? You dare to "protect" this page ? Are you out of your mind, Chris 73 ? If you do not change this status within 24 hours, you will certainly lose your position as an _editor_ within another 24 hours -- this is a promise ! Hans Rosenthal (hans.rosenthal AT -- replace AT by @ )
To the anon user that came from nowhere and made this threat with his first edit: The protection is proper within the guidelines of Wikipedia (see Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines). As for loosing my position as editor (???) - I guess I'll take that risk. If you wish further discussion, I would also recommend you to get a login, this makes discussion much easier. -- Chris 73 Talk 10:44, Feb 2, 2005 (UTC)
I was the "Ahh, dear friends of philosophy,"-guy Now it seems that I have to talk in clear English words: Nimm das zurück, oder Du wirst Deinen Job verlieren. Hans Rosenthal (hans.rosenthal AT -- replace AT by @ )
Ok, assuming good faith, let me explain to you a bit about Wikipedia: (1) No personal attacks! (2) All editors here are volunteers, and can't be fired. Banning is a extreme rare case. For any request in that direction you probably would need a login for credibility reasons. (3) The page was protected from editing through the proper channels to stop a back-and-forth revert war on the article page. This protection will not be here forever, but only until a solution to the disputed points have been found. (4) If you want to edit the article, you would have to wait until the protection is lifted. If possible, discuss any changes beforehand here on the talk page to avoid a new revert war. (5) So what is your closest language, dear friend of philosophy? -- Chris 73 Talk 14:41, Feb 2, 2005 (UTC)
"(1) No personal attacks!" - You yourself have offended other users, dear chris 73--Emax 17:34, Feb 3, 2005 (UTC)
Sorry that I wrote my two earlier comments in the "Grobian" Schopenhauer style, which he is famous for to have used in his works when writing about his favourite philosophical 'enemy' Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. I have a rather good idea of both Hegel's and Schopenhauer's works (in the original German language, which, by the way, may also answer the question which language is the most familiar and closest to me). A typo is also to be corrected: please read 24 "years" instead of "hours". As I am a fundamentally free mind, I will always have severe problems with "protected" entries within the Wikipedia, especially if such an entry is about Schopenhauer. Please note that even the entry about "Adolf Hitler" within the English Wiki is (as up to this moment) freely editable. (Nota bene: The entry about Hitler in the German Wiki is currently "protected", for which reason I have written a comment in the relevant talk page, which, of course, is in German...).
I ask you: How can it be that, in the English Wikipedia, the entry about Arthur Schopenhauer is _protected_, while the entry about Adolf Hitler is freely editable ? Would you call this a problem of the contributors or a problem of the administrator ? I leave the answer to the readers of these lines.
(Not to forget: My contributions to any of the Wiki talk pages are _never_ anonymous, since at the end of each contribution you will always find my full name and email address.)
Hans Rosenthal (hans.rosenthal AT -- replace AT by @ )
Apology accepted. Please be more careful in the future. As for protection: I don't like it either. But protection is sometimes necessary to resolve disputes. In this case, there was a constant adding and removing of the mentioning Danzig, which was not leading anywhere. Hence I requested protection to stop the revert war, and to force interested parties to join a discussion here on the talk page. A compromise is currently worked out, and hopefully in the near future the page can be unprotected. en:[[Adolf Hitler] is not protected, because there does not seem to be a revert war, only occasional vandalism. The german page may have gotten more vandalism and biased edits, making a protection necessary. A protection is always on a case by case basis. There is a (incomplete) list of Wikipedia:Protected pages and a Wikipedia:Protection policy, if you are curious about this. -- Chris 73 Talk 00:46, Feb 5, 2005 (UTC)

More compromise attempts

Let me suggest a modest solution to this entire unfortunate and disturbing imbroglio: Let's retroactively declare Schopenhauer to have been a "Prussian philosopher." Poles could take heart in this terminology by thinking of Royal Prussia, while Germans could heave a sigh of relief by reflecting upon Prussia's German ethos. This solution has the added virtue of classifying him as a member of an entity that hasn't existed for some time, and from which there can be no futher expressions of vox populi, since the Prussians strictly speaking are all dead.

That Schopenhauer himself may have had little love for Prussianism as it later came to be understood, and was not an ethnic nationalist, seems to me irrelevant to this discussion. Indeed, who cares about his stodgy old philosophy anyway? What's important on Wikipedia is that everyone's prejudices, preconceptions and deeply embraced half-truths be pandered to in some way. If the result is confusing to the casual user attempting to obtain "knowledge," so what? Let him consult Britannica and a historical atlas.

I trust this meets with everyone's approval and accept your thanks in advance.

Sca 19:57, 2 Feb 2005 (UTC)

And what next? Calling Copernicus a "Prussian" astronomer? Space Cadet 20:06, 2 Feb 2005 (UTC)

And all along I thought he was Italian! Didn't he write in Italian or something quite similar? On the other hand, he lived in some place called Frauenburg .... that doesn't sound very Italian. Maybe he was Danish, like Tycho Brahe? I doubt he was Prussian because he's always pictured with long hair. You know, those Prussians all had short, military-style haircuts. All a bunch of proto-fascists, of course.

Sca 20:39, 2 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Everybody, please calm down. I would like to try to solve this dispute by discussion, not by hurling sarcasms at each other. As for another attempt at a compromise: All references I checked (including the polish Wikipedia) either refer to him as German, or do not list his nationality. I think it is safe to say that he is indeed German. If there is a dispute about it, then we could also add this to the article, i.e. ... although some see him as Prussian philosopher... or something to that respect (but that would need a reference). I think the bigger problem is the Danzig/Gdansk mentioning, and to which country it belonged to at that time. Most English language references list his birthplace as Danzig, with Gdansk in brackets, I have not yet seen an English reference that mentions only Gdansk and not Danzig. A compromise would probably include both, possibly with a brief detailed explanation of the city having a German majority and being a rather independent part of Poland. I am pretty much open to include all viewpoints as long as there is a credible English language reference for it (i.e. no blog or newsgroup). -- Chris 73 Talk 03:30, Feb 3, 2005 (UTC)

I was just kidding about Schopenhauer having been a "Prussian" philosopher. He was German. As to your other suggestions, that would be even-handed, down the middle, balanced, i.e. truthful.

Sca 17:18, 3 Feb 2005 (UTC)

(1) "Influence" from Schelling; (2) Polish Question

I am pleased that somebody, somewhere is discussing Schopenhauer; however, the issues being discussed are not quite as philosophical as I might like :-)

I hope the editors will take note of the following:

(1) Schopenhauer himself refuted the notion that his work was derivative of Schelling, and he writes about the issue in detail in the _Parerga & Paralipomena_ --admittedly, the latter is an enormous book (thus, this is not a specific citation) but it is neatly organized and (as I recall) his comments on this issue can be easily found in the English translation. Incidentally, I don't think it's fair to say that Schopenhauer *hated* Schelling; if you read the essays on the history of ideas in the _Parerga & Paralipomena_ you'll see that Schopenhauer gave plenty of "due credit" to other philosophers, including some he had little/nothing in common with (and, yes, plenty of overdue insults to Hegel!).

(2) About the Polish question, I believe what has been forgotten here is the existence of a pseudo-national/para-national entity called THE HANSEATIC LEAGUE (there's probably a Wiki article on it!). Schopenhauer's father was associated with the latter, and was without much national affiliation aside from the Hanseatic league itself. Both Schopenhauer and his father were anti-nationalists; incidentally, the name Arthur was selected for him by his father because it was the same in English, German, and French --and Schopenhauer's education and life shared in all three of these languages/nations. In any case, Schopenhauer's mother is strongly associated with Weimar (where she had her "Salon" of authors) but Schopenhauer himself had no strong attachment to any place in Germany, and rather claimed to detest the place --although he never followed his own advice and relocated to India!

I hope you've all enjoyed and learned from this rather strange dispute!

One more point for clarification (Judaism & Chr.)

Just a note for the record: There's some vague mention in the article that Schopenhauer "Despised" Judaism, and despised Jewish elements of Christianity --this is problematic because it is vague, and therefore both misleading and partly inaccurate.

To be precise: (1.) Schopenhauer repeatedly reproaches Judaism as "no better than Protestantism" (including the use of the hyphenated word "Judaeo-Protestantism", to indicate that, philosophically, he thought the two had little difference between them!) (2.) Reciprocally, Schopenhauer reproaches Protestantism as not being any improvement on the old-testament doctrines of Judaism (3.) The reason for his different treatment of monastic Catholicism is clear: unlike Judaism, Protestantism, and Islam, there is an ascetic tradition among monastic Catholics.

Thus, while Schopenhauer was an atheist, his doctrinal endorsement of asceticism extended even to Theistic religion, e.g., Catholic monasticism --and, in the absence of asceticism, he regarded Judaism, Islam, etc., as worthless doctrines.

One can further point out that Schopenhauer was not an anti-Semite, that he favoured the legalization of inter-marriage between Christians and Jews, etc. --which is a bit spurious, but perhaps significant for the editor to consider.

All in the interests of "objectivity", I'm sure!

Good points. And yes, we have an article about the Hanseatic League. Please feel free to add your contributions to the temporary page Arthur Schopenhauer/Temp. If you can cite the references, or give links, that would be even better. -- Chris 73 Talk 04:00, Feb 4, 2005 (UTC)
However, he also praised the Shakers in America. I remember him saying "Protestantism is a degenerate Christianity and Catholocism is a terribly abused form of Christianity", but I have not read him say that Protestantism was no improvement on Judaism. Where does he say that? From all that I've read of him, he seems to insult Judaism an awful lot more than Protestantism. I do agree that S was not an anti-Semite in the racist sense and that is something which should always be made clear.

We got already a compromise "German language philosopher born in Gdansk". But chris add the the "Danzig" thing. Im pretty sure that in some time, someone would try to remove "Gdansk". And after that users like Helga or Sca would try to add the information that he was born in Danzig from where germans were brutaly expelled... etc., etc. ;). That's not the best way to get a compromise. --Emax 15:13, Feb 4, 2005 (UTC)

Ah, we do tend to globalize, don't we, Pan Emax?

The issue once again, for the umpteenth time, is that in Schopenhauer's day, it was called Danzig and inhabited mainly by Germans, i.e. people whose mother tongue was German. Sigh. And Schopenhauer, however universal his thought, was originally one of those German-speaking Danzigers.

I have no objection to saying something like, "was born in Gdansk, which is in modern Poland, but which at that time was generally known in the West by its German name, Danzig, and was inhabited primarily by Germans."

Anything untrue about that? If it makes you feel better, we could even lose the last clause, and end the sentence with "Danzig."

As to "users like Sca" -- what would they be like? Nazis? Fascists? I'm not even German. Look at my page. I looked at yours and it does seem to be that of a Polish nationalist. There's room for all of us if we stick to facts and don't try to rewrite history. Even Stalin didn't succeed at that. At least, not in the West.

Do widzenie.

Sca 20:25, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Should i comment your page? Oh better not :) Aufwiedersehen and keep attention on Polish nationalists, they are everywhere!, everywhere... --Emax 20:55, Feb 4, 2005 (UTC)

I have incorporated as much historical information as I could find into Arthur Schopenhauer/Temp, listing his birthplace as it is listed on most english language sources. (e.g. the Encyclopædia Britannica) Comments are welcome -- Chris 73 Talk 00:51, Feb 5, 2005 (UTC)

In terms of the temp version, by 1788, Royal Prussia no longer existed - Danzig was an enclave, completely surrounded by (Hohenzollern) Prussian territory. It was still technically part of Poland, but that connection was essentially meaningless after 1772. Personally, I think the city ought to be referred to as "Danzig" in the early modern period, in any event. It was inhabited by Germans, and is generally known as that in English language historical works. john k 01:03, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Added your suggestions in the temp page. The history of Danzig is getting lenghty, but I try to avoid any further revert wars after unprotection. Note: Partitions of Poland has maps from that time, although they don't distinguish between Royal prussia and Poland -- Chris 73 Talk 01:31, Feb 5, 2005 (UTC)
It was still part of Poland, so we have use the Polish name. And only because Kreuzberg, Berlin is inhabited by 90% Turkish people, its not change the name to Turkish. chris version is funny in the context of the sentence: "...had strong feelings against any kind of nationalism"...--Emax 01:46, Feb 5, 2005 (UTC)

--Emax 01:46, Feb 5, 2005 (UTC)

Firstly, do Turks have their own name for Kreuzberg? If not, the example is completely irrelevant. Even if they do, it's not especially relevant. Danzig was an autonomous German-speaking city-state within the very loosely organized Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The PLC was not a state in the modern sense, so analogies to the Federal Republic of Germany are not particularly appropriate. john k 02:52, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)
"Danzig was an autonomous German-speaking city-state within the very loosely organized Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth" - Texas is an autonomous state (like the rest of american states), buts its still the USA. Bavaria (freistaatt bayern) is autonomous state, buts still Germany. How the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was organizated is irrelevant. In the same way someone could claiming in 300 years, that Bavaria was not really Germany, but a autonomous Bayrisch-speaking state. You know how important Gdansk for the PLC was, and that Gdansk lost the importance (as a city) after the annexion by Prussia. And BTW "city-state" is not the right term to describe the privilages of Gdansk. And one more thing... is Bremen not part of Germany? (Freie Hansestadt Bremen - Free Hanseatic city of Bremen) or Hamburg? (Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg - Free and Hanseatic city of Hamburg)--Emax 13:38, Feb 5, 2005 (UTC)
The people in texas call texas texas, as do the people in the rest of the US. Similar for bayern (bavaria), bremen, hamburg, etc, hence there is no need for any lengthy explanation. These places also have very little autonomy, and a very similiar culture to their surrounding states. Danzig/Gdansk, however, did at that time not really have any significant polish culture, rather it was a german city under the souvereignity of poland. In any case, the city is listed as part of poland in the current tmp version of the article. Chris 73 Talk 16:18, Feb 5, 2005 (UTC)
So in your opinion Gdansk has more autonomy as Bavaria or Texas today? Could You explain that?
german city under the souvereignity of Poland - thats simply not true. (wishthinking)
Befor the war, some cities have a significant Jewish population - but nobody would claimimg that the cities were not Polish.
What about American cities? I never heard that Irish, Polish, English, Spanic or Mexican cities existing in the USA, only because they have a significant population of an ethnic group.
I have read some time ago an article about ethnic groups in germany. In 20-30 years ethnic germans will be in a minority in most big cities in germany. But i guess that Turkish people will not come to wikipedia and claiming that - for example - Hamburg is not more a german city, and use the argument that they are now in the majority, and claiming that the city is only under the souvereignity of germany...--Emax 22:39, Feb 5, 2005 (UTC)

At last we're making progress. Not "for" the Germans, or anyone else; simply presenting history.

For our Polish readers, let me state: I do NOT dislike Poles or Poland. It's the only country outside the U.S. in which I have lived for any length of time, and which I revisited in my last trip to Europe. And by the way, I view the partitions of Poland as grossly unjust.

Sca 01:11, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Yeah.. after you called 1000 times Poles as nationalists etc., now the statement "I like you Poles!". Its remembered me at Charlie Chaplins "The great dictator" (the scene of Hitlers speech) :)--Emax 01:46, Feb 5, 2005 (UTC)

Ridiculous / sinnlos / smieszny. Not worthy of a reply. Sca 14:23, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I am _very_ sure that most of the contributors to this Wikipedia talk page have not the _slightest_ idea of the German language. So either they be silent -- or they start to get an idea of the _language_ of the Philosopher "Schopenhauer", whom which they _believe_ to talk about. (And I tell you: You _first_ have to learn the most difficult German language.*)
Hans Rosenthal (hans.rosenthal AT -- replace AT by @ )
*) German is not _that difficult_ to learn. It's much easier than Chinese.

By the way, I notice that the entry on Vilnius (ex-Wilna)- which seems to be written from a certain Polish point of view - contains in its history section, in the part dealing with post-WWII border and population changes, the following editorial comment:

"This way the city's population changed completely and most links with the city's past and traditions were broken. This fact is still seen by many people as unhappy, especially of its negative effect on city's community traditions."

Now, someone tell me, why is the Wilna situation different from the forced removal of the Germans from Danzig (now Gdansk) and all the other ex-German places in Poland?

The only difference I am aware of is that the Poles who were removed from then-Wilna apparently weren't subjected to the various physical atrocities the Red Army inflicted on the conquered Germans, about 1.5 mllion of whom lost their lives.

The point is not to raise another controversy (over Vilnius/Wilna) - it's that one can't have it both ways: Ethnic cleansing of another nationality can't be OK if you think it's bad when it happens to people of your ownnationality. Unless, of course, you're an ethno-racist, like the ardent Nazis were.

Sca 22:22, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Does that have something to do with Schopenhauer...?--Emax 22:39, Feb 5, 2005 (UTC)
The temp article now lists both names, the old english usage (based on German) and the new english usage (based on Polish). Mainly Schopenhauer was born in Sztutowo (Stutthof), Poland near Gdańsk (Danzig). While I would prefer the then commonly used english (German) name to be first, I can live with this order. I also removed the name Gdańsk/Danzig from all points in the article except for this line above. Also, Poland is mentioned twice, once in reference to Sztutowo/Stutthof, and once as Polish Royal Prussia. Hope this is acceptable to everybody. -- Chris 73 Talk 00:04, Feb 7, 2005 (UTC)

Still protected?

How's the conflict here going? It's been a week since the last comment above, and the page has been protected for two weeks. Shall it be unprotected? dbenbenn | talk 00:22, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)

A consensus has not been reached. Two parties revert Arthur Schopenhauer/Temp with little or no discussion. The edit war will most likely continue after unprotection, but since no consensus has been found, protection is not the right tool to solve the problem. This is frustrating, but I would support an unprotection. -- Chris 73 Talk 00:29, Feb 16, 2005 (UTC)
Okay, done. Good luck. dbenbenn | talk 01:42, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)

To Chris -- and about Emax vandalism

Chris Chris 73,

Thank you for making the article on Schopenhauer free for editing again. Don't worry about the "contributions" of some certain Emax, I think that we have more staying power than he. Keep in mind that Emax is only talking about the name of a city, while we are talking about the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer, of which Emax seems to have not the slightest idea. So lets return to the important issues about Schopenhauer.

Hans Rosenthal (hans.rosenthal AT -- replace AT by @ )

PS: If you don't have time to undo Emax vandalisms, I am happy to help out !

There is a vote underway currently at Talk:Gdansk/Vote that should solve some of these problems. So far the vote is making good progress. Unfortunately for you, only users with a regular login can vote. Even if you would create a login now, it would be considered a new login and a vote would be ignored (This is to stop one user from voting multiple times using different just-created- logins). Sorry about that. In any case, there seems to be a strong support to list location names with both names, which is all I wanted for Schopenhauer, so I am happy about the progress of the vote. -- Chris 73 Talk 06:56, Feb 19, 2005 (UTC)

Latest revision to Philosophy section, Feb. 27

I hope that everyone can regard the version below as a "Friendly amendment" --I have added two quotations (with citations!), a bit of balance, and a few extra words, as the former version of the article seemed to assume the reader had a pretty solid knowledge of Kantian jargon.


Schopenhauer's starting point was Kant's division of the universe into phenomenon and noumenon, claiming that the noumenon was Will and the most important since it is the inner content and the driving force of the world. For Schopenhauer, human will had ontological primacy over the intellect; in other words, desire is understood to be prior to thought, and, in a parallell sense, "will" is said to be prior to "being". In solving/alleviating the fundamental problems of life, Schopenhauer was rare among philosophers in considering philosophy and logic less important (or "less effective") than art, certain types of chairtable practice ("loving kindness", in his terms), and certain forms of religious discipline; Schopenhauer concluded that discursive thought (such as philosophy and logic) could neither touch nor transcend the nature of desire --i.e., the will. In The World as Will and Representation, Schopenhauer posited that humans living in the realm of objects are living in the realm of desire, and thus are eternally tormented by that desire (The role of desire in life has a similar role in the religions of Vedanta-Hinduism and Buddhism, and Schopenhauer draws attention to these similarities himself).

While Schopenhauer's philosophy may sound rather mystical in such a summary, his methodology was resolutely empirical, rather than "speculative", or "transcendental":

“Philosophy... is a science, and as such has no articles of faith; accordingly, in it nothing can be assumed as existing except what is either positively given empirically, or demonstrated through indubitable conclusions.”
Schopenhauer, Parerga & Paralipomena, vol. i, pg. 106., E.F.J. Payne Translation
“This actual world of what is knowable, in which we are and which is in us, remains both the material and the limit of our consideration.”
Schopenhauer, World as Will & Representation, vol. i, pg. 273, E.F.J. Payne Translation

Schopenhauer's identification of the Kantian noumenon (i.e., the actually existing entity) with Will deserves some explanation. The noumenon was what Kant called the Ding an Sich, the "Thing in Itself", the reality that exists outside of, and the foundation of, our sensory and mental representations of an external world; in Kantian terms, those sensory and mental representations are mere phenomena. Schopenhauer's assertion that Will is this noumenon might at first instance strike some as oddly as Heraclitus's revelation that everything is made out of fire.

But Kant's philosophy was formulated as a response to the radical philosophical skepticism of David Hume and his fellow British Empiricists, who claimed that as far as we could tell there was no outside reality beyond our mental representations of it. When Schopenhauer identifies the noumenon with Will, what he is saying is that we participate in the reality of an otherwise unachievable world outside the mind through Will. We cannot prove that our mental picture of an outside world corresponds with a reality by reasoning. Through Will, we know — without thinking — that the world can stimulate us. We suffer fear, or desire. These states arise involuntarily. They arise prior to reflection. They arise even when the conscious mind would prefer to hold them at bay. The rational mind is for Schopenhauer a leaf borne along in a stream of pre-reflective and largely unconscious emotion. That stream is Will; and through Will, if not through logic, we can participate in the underlying reality that lies beyond mere phenomena. It is for this reason that Schopenhauer identifies the noumenon with Will.


Hello, I'm confused about the reference to Heraclitus' assertion that everything is made of fire, because I remember a similar assertion made by Thales, whereby everything was made of water. Perhaps Thales' statement was mistaken for Heraclitus'. - -_-

The article on Heraclitus says: "He disagreed with Thales, Anaximander, and Pythagoras about the nature of the ultimate substance and claimed instead that everything is derived from the Greek classical element fire, rather than from air, water, or earth." FWIW, Bryan Magee prefers to restate Schopenhauer's belief that the world is Will in terms of a belief that energy is the fundamental substance: in which case it could be argued that Heraclitus beat him to the punch by a couple millennia. Smerdis of Tlön 15:02, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Thales supposedly said that water is the basis of all things. He was important because he did not try to explain the world through the use of myths. 02:16, 12 September 2005 (UTC)Bruce Partington

Immoral Moralist

Buried somewhere above in all that Gdansk talk is the comment that Schopenhauer didn't follow his own morality; that he advocated asceticism but was a voluptuous bon vivant. Well. Schopenhauer answered that objection 185 years ago. In WWR I, § 68, he wrote: " is a strange demand on a moralist that he should commend no other virtue than that which he himself possesses." 23:14, 10 September 2005 (UTC)Bruce Partington

Arbitrary Reverts?

Chris73, do you mind explaining and giving a reason for deleting my two edits in which I:

  • gave the Marquet lawsuit its own paragraph, and
  • quoted the pessimist Schopenhauer's proof that this is the worst of all possible worlds? 17:17, 14 September 2005 (UTC)Bruce Partington

Hall Monitor: Have you ever read Schopenhauer? 21:17, 14 September 2005 (UTC)Bruce Partington


A good example that proves Schopenhauer's theory of the ludicrous can be seen at The Aristocrats. 22:29, 20 October 2005 (UTC)Mullah al-Smurf

Critique of Kant

To get a taste of where many "intellectuals" learned their Kant, see Schopenhauer's criticism of the Kantian philosophy. Schopenhauer's essay was more easily read than Kant's original books. 17:19, 10 November 2005 (UTC)FriedrichNootzschy