Individual vs. World in Schopenhauer's Pessimism
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Southern Journal of Philosophy
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.
(2021). Individual vs. World in Schopenhauer's Pessimism. Southern Journal of Philosophy, 59(2), 122–152.
"Individual vs. World in Schopenhauer's Pessimism." Southern Journal of Philosophy, vol. 59,no. 2, 2021, pp. 122–152.