Title

Individual vs. World in Schopenhauer's Pessimism

Author's Department

Philosophy Department

Find in your Library

https://doi.org/10.1111/sjp.12401

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Southern Journal of Philosophy

Publication Date

6-1-2021

doi

10.1111/sjp.12401

Abstract

This article aims to elucidate and explore the significance of a distinction in Schopenhauer's pessimism which has not yet received detailed attention in the secondary literature. Schopenhauer is well known to have argued for the thesis that the fundamental feature of sentient life is pervasive suffering, and on these grounds held that individual lives are not worth living. However, he similarly claims with frequency that the nonexistence of the world “as a whole” is preferable to its existence. This is a distinct thesis, and it is unclear how Schopenhauer thinks it relates to the first. This investigation seeks to rectify this, arguing that the ambiguous concept of the world “as a whole” has at least two interpretations in Schopenhauer's texts. Moreover, that this “world-pessimism”—once properly understood—may avoid certain objections that pessimism at the level of the individual is vulnerable to.

First Page

122

Last Page

152

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