Discovering Schopenhauer



9 Questions

What is the title of Arthur Schopenhauer's most famous work?

Who were some of the thinkers and artists influenced by Schopenhauer's work?

Where was Arthur Schopenhauer born?

What did Schopenhauer believe was the essential reality behind the world as representation?

What did Schopenhauer believe was at the root of human suffering?

What did Schopenhauer believe was the basis of morality?

What did Schopenhauer consider India to be?

What did Schopenhauer believe was the solution to the problem of the human race?

What did Schopenhauer think of love?


Arthur Schopenhauer: German Pessimist Philosopher

  • Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher known for his work "The World as Will and Representation" which characterizes the phenomenal world as the product of a blind noumenal will.

  • He developed an atheistic metaphysical and ethical system that rejected contemporaneous ideas of German idealism and shared and affirmed significant tenets of Indian philosophy.

  • Schopenhauer's work has had a posthumous impact across various disciplines, including philosophy, literature, and science, influencing thinkers and artists such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Leo Tolstoy, and Gustav Mahler.

  • Schopenhauer was born in Danzig (present-day Gdańsk, Poland) to Johanna and Heinrich Floris Schopenhauer, both descendants of wealthy German patrician families.

  • He was sent to live with his father's business associate in Le Havre in 1797, where he learned to speak French and fostered a life-long friendship.

  • Schopenhauer accompanied his parents on a European tour in 1803, where he attended school in Wimbledon and was disillusioned by strict and intellectually shallow Anglican religiosity.

  • Heinrich Schopenhauer drowned in a canal near their home in Hamburg in 1805, and Schopenhauer spent two years as a merchant in honor of his dead father.

  • He moved to Weimar to study philosophy and law, but his relationship with his mother deteriorated due to temperamental differences.

  • Schopenhauer attended the University of Göttingen to study medicine but switched to philosophy and attended the University of Berlin, where he attended lectures by Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Friedrich Schleiermacher.

  • He left Berlin in 1813 and settled in Rudolstadt, where he wrote his dissertation "On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason."

  • Schopenhauer's dissertation made an impression on Goethe, to whom he sent it as a gift.

  • Despite his mother's prediction, Schopenhauer's work has had a lasting impact and is still widely studied and discussed today.The Life and Works of Arthur Schopenhauer: A Summary

  • Schopenhauer was greatly influenced by his father, who committed suicide when he was 17, and by his mother, who was a writer and intellectual.

  • He studied philosophy and literature at university and became fascinated with the works of Kant, Plato, and Buddhism.

  • After graduation, he moved to Weimar and met Goethe, with whom he discussed color theory, but they later became distant due to growing theoretical disagreements.

  • Schopenhauer was also introduced to Eastern philosophy by Friedrich Majer and became impressed by the Upanishads and the Buddha, which he put on par with Plato and Kant.

  • He wrote his seminal philosophical work, The World as Will and Representation, in Dresden and had a tumultuous personal life, engaging in sexual affairs and quarrels with local artists.

  • After his book was published, he left for Italy for a year-long vacation, where he studied art, architecture, and ancient ruins, and had love affairs.

  • He returned to Berlin and unsuccessfully attempted to revive his lectures and publish translations of Spanish authors.

  • He had an on-and-off relationship with a young dancer, Caroline Richter, and offered to take her with him when he escaped from Berlin in 1831, but she refused.

  • He settled in Frankfurt and lived alone except for his pet poodles. He attracted some followers among practical professionals who pursued private philosophical studies.

  • He published The Two Basic Problems of Ethics and the updated edition of The World as Will and Representation, which were mostly ignored or received mixed reviews.

  • He witnessed violent upheaval in Frankfurt during the 1848 revolution and became worried for his safety and property.

  • He published Parerga and Paralipomena, which contained supplementary essays, and became his first successful, widely read book.The Life and Philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer

  • Schopenhauer's ideas were often compared to those of Fichte and Schelling, and his philosophy was criticized for contradictions and inconsistencies.

  • Schopenhauer acknowledged some of the criticisms but claimed that he was not concerned about harmony and agreement in his propositions.

  • In 1856, the University of Leipzig sponsored an essay contest about Schopenhauer's philosophy, which was won by Rudolf Seydel's very critical essay.

  • Schopenhauer's philosophy is an extension of Kant's, and he used transcendental idealism as a starting point for his own.

  • Schopenhauer argued that our knowledge and experience of the world is always indirect and that everything that there is for cognition exists simply as an object in relation to a subject.

  • Schopenhauer's theory of perception was influenced by his work on Goethe's Theory of Colours, which led him to find a demonstration for the a priori nature of causality.

  • Schopenhauer's philosophy of the will as the essential reality behind the world as representation is often called metaphysical voluntarism.

  • According to Schopenhauer, understanding the world as will leads to ethical concerns, which he explores in his two prize essays on ethics, On the Freedom of the Will and On the Basis of Morality.

  • Schopenhauer believed that human "willing" is at the root of suffering and that a temporary way to escape this pain is through aesthetic contemplation.

  • Schopenhauer believed that music was the purest form of art because it was the one that depicted the will itself without it appearing as subject to the Principle of Sufficient Reason.

  • Schopenhauer's views on ethics were based on the idea that compassion is the basis of morality, and eternal justice is not retributive.

  • Schopenhauer died of pulmonary-respiratory failure at the age of 72 and had a funeral conducted by a Lutheran minister.Summary of Arthur Schopenhauer's Life and Work

  • Schopenhauer believed that suffering is the moral outcome of our attachment to pleasure and that this truth was expressed by the Christian dogma of original sin and, in Eastern religions, by the dogma of rebirth.

  • He believed that those who have experienced intuitive knowledge cannot affirm life, but exhibit asceticism and quietism, meaning that they are no longer sensitive to motives, are not concerned about their individual welfare, and accept without resistance the evil that others inflict on them.

  • Schopenhauer's politics were an echo of his system of ethics, which he elucidated in detail in his Die beiden Grundprobleme der Ethik, where he described himself as a proponent of limited government.

  • He viewed personality and intellect as inherited and believed that a person inherits their intellect through their mother, and personal character through their father. He believed in eugenics or good breeding, which he saw as the solution to the problem of the human race.

  • Schopenhauer was very concerned about animal welfare, and for him, all individual animals, including humans, are essentially phenomenal manifestations of the one underlying Will.

  • He was impressed by the ancient Hindu texts, the Upanishads, and considered India as "the land of the most ancient and most pristine wisdom".

  • Schopenhauer expressed opposition to what he called "Teutonico-Christian stupidity" of "reflexive, unexamined reverence for the female (abgeschmackten Weiberveneration)" and claimed that "woman is by nature meant to obey".

  • Schopenhauer's writings influenced many, from Friedrich Nietzsche to nineteenth-century feminists.

  • He named a force within man that he felt took invariable precedence over reason: the Will to Live or Will to Life (Wille zum Leben).

  • Schopenhauer refused to conceive of love as either trifling or accidental, but rather understood it as an immensely powerful force that lay unseen within man's psyche, guaranteeing the quality of the human race.

  • Schopenhauer saw slavery as a "disgrace to the whole of humanity".

  • He criticized Spinoza's belief that animals are a mere means for the satisfaction of humans and protested using the pronoun "it" in reference to animals because that led to treatment of them as though they were inanimate things.

  • Schopenhauer was very attached to his succession of pet poodles.


How much do you know about Arthur Schopenhauer, the German philosopher known for his pessimistic views on life and the world? Test your knowledge with our quiz and discover fascinating facts about Schopenhauer's life, works, and philosophy. From his atheistic metaphysical and ethical system to his influence on Nietzsche and Freud, this quiz will challenge your understanding of one of the most controversial and influential thinkers in history. Get ready to dive into the mind of Schopenhauer and explore his ideas on the

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