Talk:Arthur Schopenhauer/Archive 2

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User's Change of Section Heading

Changed "Politics" to "Racism" because his racism wansn't political nor was he a politition.

Is a person a racist because he describes differences and inequalities between various groups of people?Lestrade 02:23, 8 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"White Men Can't Jump" 21:53, 26 January 2007 (UTC)BlanksaltReply[reply]

Hans Rosenthal's Question

But was this discussion not cleared and settled in 2004 ? Hans Rosenthal (ROHA) (hans.rosenthal AT -- replace AT by @ ) ( 03:33, 12 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The ethnicity of Schopenhauer's birthplace

Danzig, in Schopenhauer's time, was not a "Polish enclave," although it was politically allied with and tied to the Polish crown.

In English, to say that someplace is a "Polish enclave" means first and foremost an ethnnically Polish area, which Danzig was not at the time. This would mislead English readers (this IS the English Wiki) who don't know the city's complex ethnographic and political history – which is most of them – to think that Schopenhauer either was Polish or grew up in an ethnically Polish community.

As a contrasting example: Kaliningrad today is a Russian enclave, or exclave, in that it is inhabited predominantly by Russians (and some other ex-Soviet people), Russian is its lingua franca, and it is de jure part of the Russian Republic.

The point of this article is to tell the story of Schopenhauer the person and philospher. I understand that Schopenhauer was free from the disease of nationalism, but that doesn't change the fact that ethnically he was German.

If readers wish to know more about Danzig/Gdansk, they can consult entries about the city and its history. One can safely assume that readers who look for an article on Schopenhauer are interested mainly in him, not his hometown.

I plead with our Polish friends to kindly desist from this irrational and pointless ethnocentric vandalism.

Sca 19:22, 5 October 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

And how would you call an enclave of the Polish state inhabitated primarily by Poles (of all ethnicities, Polish and German included)? Come on, Sca, you're really nitpicking now. Gdańsk was as Poliush back then as New York is American nowadays. Although the latter has incredibly low percentage of WASPs, nobody is arguing that the majority of its inhabitants are Italian Americans, Portorican Americans, Polish Americans and so on. Just like nobody is trying to break down the American population onto ethnic groups just for the sake of such a short article as this one. And, above all, this is an article on Arthur Schopenhauer, not on Complexity of Gdańsk's historical and ethnic pattern. Halibutt 22:16, 6 October 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ridiculous. What do you mean, "inhabited primarily by Poles"? Get real.

The history of New York is not remotely parallel with the history of the former province of Danzig-West Prussia.

Admit it, Halibutt, you would like the history of this area to simply be devoid of Germans. Dream on. You are a nice guy, but your head is in the ethnocentric sand.

Sca 02:23, 7 October 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sca, perhaps it's completely unbelievable for the Americans, but there were other societies formed in a similar way before the US were formed. Note that I'm not speaking of ethnicities, but of nationalities. Perhaps you simply started to discuss with your own view on what I might've said and not with my actual words. That's not what I expected of you.
Poland was one of such cases - you didn't have to be a Pole (ethnicity) in order to be a Pole (nationality). Danzigers were as Polish as Lithuanians of Grodno or Bambergers of Poznań, not to mention Dutch of Warsaw (Olędrzy of Saska Kępa), Scots of Pomerania or any other group of servants of The Republic. Part of my own ancestors were Poles yet were Lithuanians - and there was no contradiction in it. Just like nowadays, I can be both a Jew and a Pole. And you can be both a German and an American. Compare the articles on ethnicity and nationality or citizenship instead of accusing me of trying to make the Germans of Danzig look less German.
They were Germans, yet they were Poles by nationality, since the city they lived in was a part of Poland for ages. And their culture, traditions, or language have little to do with the political ownership of the city. The townspeople of Gdańsk had even greater civil rights than many of the szlachta since they lived in a Royal city. And the same situation is true for countless of other cities in the world nowadays. Antwerp is primarily inhabitated by Dutch people, yet the city is a part of Belgium and people living there are citizens of Belgium, not of the Netherlands. Same with Avondale, Chicago which is inhabitated mostly by Poles, Germans and Portoricans, yet it is a part of the United States of America, not of Poland, Germany or Puerto Rico. Or am I speaking rubbish here? Am I trying to make the Poles of Chicago look less Polish?
Next time try to understand what I say, not what you think I might've said. Halibutt 02:57, 7 October 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Once again, Halibutt, you are missing the point. The discussion is not about the history of Poland or the history of Danzig/Gdansk. The discussion is about what the words "a Polish enclave" will mean to English readers today, in the 21st century. And as has been pointed out repeatedly, "a Polish enclave" to them will mean an ethnically Polish area, which Danzig in the time of Schopenhauer was not. For the umpteenth time: Schopenhauer was, ethnically, German. He spoke German as his native language and wrote in German ("Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung").

I understand the basis for your claim that Danzigers were of Polish nationality, but find it irrelevant to the basic issue outlined above. We are not talking about political history, we are talking about ethnicity.

I understand that there were several ethnic elements present historically in Pomerelia/West Pressia, i.e. Germans, Poles and Kushubes, and that there were some Dutch and Low German settlers in Danzig and the Vistula delta to the east of Danzig, where dikes were built to control flooding. But Danzig itself was overwhelmingly German in speech and ethnic character until the idiocy of WWII changed the region's ethnic composition forever.

Sca 12:23, 7 October 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Politically, Danzig was not more independent in 1788 than Warsaw, Cracow or Wilno. It still had some specific privileges and was one of the richest towns of Poland, but much of its power was already limited by the reforms. And in 1791 it was directly incorporated into the Polish state, just like all other parts under the rule of king Stanislaus.
And this is the true basis of the dispute here. You are basically arguing that he was not born in Poland since Danzig was populated by Germans mostly. Poland is a geo-political term here while you prefer to use some strange ethnic-political mixture. While I find your reasoning an absurd, you might have a point here. After all why should political borders matter... when speaking of political borders?
Now seriously, since 1772 Danzig was a Polish enclave (see the linked articles) and it was not until 1793 that the city was annexed by Prussia. The article on enclave does not even mention the problems you raise, so perhaps you're simply over-sensitive?
However, if you really believe that the ethnic history of the city he was born near to is so important to this article, then feel free to expand it or create some sort of a related article on the [[ethnic and political status of the city of Danzig at the time Arthur Schopenhauer was born. Over and out. Do as you please. Halibutt 20:14, 7 October 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No, Halibutt, I am not arguing that he was not born in Poland as it existed politically at the time. What I am arguing - and the point you still are not understanding - is that to English-speaking readers, "a Polish enclave" means ethnically Polish. If we say, "a Polish enclave surrounded by Prussia," English-speaking readers will think that Danzig was ethnically Polish, surrounded by an ethnically, so to speak, Prussian (i.e. German) area. This is incorrect.

In this article, we don't care about the political status of Danzig; what's relevant is its ethnicity at the time, and Schopenhauer, as the structure of his name makes obvious, was not Polish ethnically but German. To put it more simply in the context of our long discussions: Schopenhauer was not born in Gdansk, he was born in Danzig. Gdansk as we know it today came into existence only after 1945.

Sca 14:00, 8 October 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is quite ridiculous discussion, since Schopenhauer himself had no problem with admitting that Danzig was (formally at least)a Polish city:

"Exempel 2. A sagt: »Der Friede von 1814 gab sogar allen Deutschen Hansestädten ihre Unabhängigkeit wieder.« – B gibt die instantia in contrarium, daß Danzig die ihm von Bonaparte verliehene Unabhängigkeit durch jenen Frieden verloren. – A rettet sich so: »Ich sagte allen Deutschen Hansestädten: Danzig war eine Polnische Hansestadt.«"

Arthur Schopenhauer, Die Kunst, Recht zu behalten - The Art Of Controversy —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:39, 16 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The second person here has no idea what they are talking about and or is motivated by crass political reasons which is something Schopenhauer would have hated. That was one of the reasons why Schopenhauer hated Hegel and Hegel's view of the Prussian state as the culmination of history. Danzig at the time of Schopenhauer was an ethnically German city. Danzig was not ethnically Polish until after WW2. There is a reason it is referred to as Danzig and not Gdansk in all accounts of the period. It is like how the old Prussian fortress city of Konigsberg is now known as Kaliningrad by the Russians since they seized it from Germany after WW2. History is very chronological and that chronology must be respected. The chronology is what keeps history pure and apart from crass modern political motives. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:30, 2 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Translation of "Vorstellung"

Pardon me for intruding on the world of thought, but isn't "Vorstellung" often translated as "Imagination" rather than "Representation," which to me seems awkward? I've also seen it translated as "Idea," i.e. "The World as Will and Idea," but this strikes me as simplistic.

Sca 19:18, 10 October 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Vorstellung" is "representation," in that it is the presence in a mind of the image of an object that is thought to be externally present. Understanding of this requires a certain amount of mental reflection. It was best explained by both George Berkeley and Schopenhauer.

Lestrade 13:07, 12 October 2005 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]

It is also translated as "Representation" in French, though no German-French dictionary gives "représentation" as the primary meaning of the word. Mostly, as you said, it is given the meaning "idea" but it largely depends on the context. For example, a "Vorstellung" in theatrical parlance is what we call a "représentation" (a "performance" in English) of a play. And indeed the meaning given by Schopenhauer to "Vorstellung" is far more akin to a theatrical performance of a play (the play of one's life, so to speak) than to an "Idea", which almost everyone sees as unmovable and unchanging (from Plato). In this latter case, Schopenhauer talks about "Idee" and this term refers exclusively to the Platonic sense (although modified by Schopenhauer to fit his system). Also, the meaning "idea" applied to "Vorstellung" is given in my German-French dictionary as a "gedankliches Bild", which loosely means "intellectual image". It thus means something (an image) you have built (indeed, "Bild" and "to build" quite evidently share the same roots) in your mind, not something already conceived a priori or otherwise received (namely, an "Idea"). In French we would then sometimes translate this meaning of "Vorstellung" as a "gedankliches Bild" as "expectation" or "understanding (the faculty of creating concepts)" depending on the context. Also, "Vorstellen" is translated as both "to present oneself" and "to imagine something (i.e. to represent something to oneself)". "Imagination" would be more correctly given by "Vorstellungkraft", loosely "the faculty of representation".
We thus see that indeed "Idea" is a simplistic and erroneous translation as it does not give the full meaning of the word (it leaves out the process that is inherent in forming a representation) and because it interferes with the platonic "Idee" of Schopenhauer (which is surely not synonymous with "Vorstellung") and that "Imagination" would be incorrect as it both overreaches the scope of the original term and add the unnecessary, derogatory alternative meaning of "fictional" (i.e. not linked to any sensory input).
Bidouleroux 22:57, 6 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Your above speculations show: You have never ever read a single line of the Schopenhauer works. And this fact makes the discussion about the article "Schopenhauer" so difficult. You are talking about something which you have no clear idea of. By the way: the translation "The World as Will and Representation" is still the closest one you can find in the English language. This should have become clear from mere reading of the Wikipedia article about Arthur Schopenhauer. Hans Rosenthal (ROHA) (hans.rosenthal AT -- replace AT by @ ) (19012006)

The post above by Hans Rosenthal is certainly an ad hominem argument. The question of an adequate philosophical translation into English of Vorstellung deserves much attention, especially when considered in relation to Schopenhauer's use of Idee, even if the writer of the post has "never ever [sic] read a single line of the Schopenhauer works." Riteofapollo 02:19, 27 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Schopenhauer attempted to translate Kant into English in, I believe, the 1830s and the preliminary tranlation still exist in his archive, though he gave up early on. However, he translated Kant's, "vorstellungen" as "representations". I cannot recall where I read about this. Is it in Magee? BTW, "vorstellungen" got into the German language as a word for Locke's use of the word, "idea", but Kant and Schopenhauer used it in critically different ways. The likeness of the object is reproduced in the mind - the physical object exists on its own, independently from us and it is highly likely, though unprovable, that it is not actually as we perceive it to be; it may be a different colour, or indeed, colourless, for example and may be larger or smaller than we think. Our minds successfully initiate the data that objects give our senses for our understanding, and most importantly, our survival. Look to other animals and insects for comparative states of affairs. Proof Reader 16:42, 21 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Schopenhauer wrote a letter to Francis Haywood on December 21, 1829. He only knew him as the author of "Damiron's Essay." Schopenhauer, in his letter, proposed that a translation of Kant's works could be made into English if they could cooperate on the project. Schopenhauer would write the translation and Haywood would check the English for correctness. This failed because Haywood wanted to write the translation. In the course of his proposal, Schopenhauer included a sample of his translation. He chose Remark II from § 13 of Kant's Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysic that may Come Forward as a Science. (In his reply, Haywood never provided a sample of his ability to translate.) An example of Kant's German is as follows:

Da nun die Sinne nach dem jetzt Erwiesenen uns niemals und in keinem einzigen Stück die Dinge an sich selbst, sondern nur ihre Erscheinungen

zu erkennen geben, diese aber bloße Vorstellungen der Sinnlichkeit sind, "so müssen auch alle Körper mit sammt dem Raume, darin sie sich befinden, für nichts als bloße Vorstellungen in uns gehalten werden und existiren

nirgend anders, als bloß in unsern Gedanken."

I have emboldened the words "Vorstellungen." An example of Schopenhauer's English is as follows, with words emboldened by me:

Now as by what has been hitherto proved, the senses never nor even in any respect whatsoever, manifest to our cognizance the things as they are in themselves, but merely their appearances, which are no more than the ideas of our sensitive faculty, it follows "that we must deem all the bodies, along with the space wherein they subsist, to be nothing more than mere ideas in our minds and that consequently they exist nowhere else but in our thoughts."

As can be seen, Schopenhauer translated "Vorstellungen" as "ideas," with a lower case "i."

Lestrade 17:39, 21 July 2007 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]

New Essay on Schopenhauer posted to the Web

Several of the quotations in this Wiki-article seem to be mysteriously "lifted" from the following essay:

...not that there's anything wrong with that!

There really isn't very much (in English) about Schopenhauer on the web --so I hope this essay detailing what his relationship to earlier thinkers was (and wasn't) will lend a bit of clarity to any ensuing discussions.

The question about the translation of "Vorstellung" is fair enough; the choice of "Representation" was made by E.F.J. Payne, and has become conventional in discussing Schopenhauer's work. It is an improvement on "Idea"/"Ideal", used in earlier translations. In normal German usage (e.g., in a newspaper), one would not translate the term with such a "technical" equivalent; but then, this is philosophy, isn't it? Philosophy consists in accuracy, and a highly technical vocabulary seems to arise wherever we discuss it.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:50, 7 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, I agree. But why do you contribute your above lines in the way of "Unkwown" ? If you trust your own writings, then nothing should be withholding you from sending them with your name and address. So what is your problem with this ? Hans Rosenthal (ROHA) (hans.rosenthal AT -- replace AT by @ ) ( 03:42, 12 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

magnetic iron bars etc

There is an anonymous editor who is insisting on adding the following unnecessary, long-winded, ungrammatical and foreign language text to the article:

Schopenhauer analysis one of Hegel's assertions:
"Daselbst also, in der Abtheilung >>Physik<< , § 293 (zweite Auflage, von 1827), handelt er vom specifischen Gewichte..." What Hegel asserts in this paragraph is: If some iron bar is magnetized at the one end of its sides, then it sinks down on this side, hence the mass on this side of the iron bar must have become "specifically more massive". Schopenhauers comment on this claim was: "Alles was auf einer Seite schwerer wird, senkt sich nach der Seite: dieser magnetisierte Stab senkt sich nach einer Seite: also ist er daselbst schwerer geworden." ("Every thing that becomes heavier on one of its sides, sinks down to this side: this magnetized bar sinks down to one side: hence it has become more massive on this very side.") And Schopenhauer continues: "Ein würdiges Analogon zu dem Schluß: >>Alle Gänse haben zwei Beine, Du hast zwei Beine, also bist Du eine Ganz.<<" (A worthy analogon would conclude: >>All geese have two feet, you have two feet, hence you are a goose<<").

Is it really necessary to include this discussion of an odd, tiny, questionable fragment of Hegel's writings? I feel that it detracts from the article. I tried to shorten the discussion here, but ROHA was inpressed. He reverted my change and used my text to expand the discussion. Does this really help the article? — goethean 20:14, 12 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The best solution to this problem is to make a new, separate Wikipedia article about Hegel's "questionable" fragment. If this is not advisable, then the Hegelian fragment might be included in a new article that reviews many other of Hegel's false assertions, instead of being an article solely devoted to the increasing mass of Hegel's magnet. Then, briefly refer to the new article in the main Schopenhauer article. 16:17, 22 January 2007 (UTC)Aubrey AubervilliersReply[reply]
What I think is really necessary is to correct one false claim from the user goethean, saying that ROHA is an "anonymous editor", while every single reader of the Wikipedia knows it better: The anagram ROHA is always and in any place within the Wiki associated with the full name and the email address of Hans Rosenthal (ROHA) (hans.rosenthal AT -- replace AT by @ ) (19012006) PS: So, please, user goethean, do not play the Wikipedia readers false.
??? --Knucmo2 20:33, 7 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Schopenhauer claimed that Leibniz was the first to make a formal statement of the principle of sufficient reason. However, he didn't invent it.Lestrade 00:07, 15 April 2006 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]

Leibniz was supposed to have influenced Schopenhauer? You decide, after reading the following quotes from Schopenhauer:

I could never succeed in really thinking myself into the monadology, pre-established harmony, and the identity of indiscernibles.

I cannot assign to the Theodicy ... any other merit than that it later gave rise to the immortal Candide of the great Voltaire. In this way, of course, Leibniz's often-repeated and lame excuse for the evil of the world, namely that the bad sometimes produces the good, obtained proof that for him was unexpected.

— Ibid.

Lestrade 13:16, 15 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Schopenhauer did not claim that the universe was full of a soul or spirit.Lestrade 00:07, 15 April 2006 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]

I would like to see one quote from Schopenhauer in which he claims that the universe is objectively made out of knowing mind or minds. On the contrary, he claimed that the universe appears, in the way that it appears, only as a mental picture or representation in the mind of an observer or subject. This is transcendental idealism, not panpsychism.Lestrade 13:27, 15 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Leibniz and Leopardi did not influence Schopenhauer. Since the person who makes a positive statement is responsible for showing proof, please show some evidence to convince everyone of their alleged influence. Although, such evidence could only come from quotations that are exhibited by a person who has actually read Schopenhauer.Lestrade 16:49, 15 April 2006 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]

I will try to find a quote without ever reading Schopenhauer... I have a book of philosophy quotations.  ;)
— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:31, 2 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Influences, as given by Schopenhauer

In his manuscripts there is the line that Ich gestehe ..., daß ich nicht glaube, daß meine Lehre je hätte entstehn können, ehe die Upanischaden, Plato und Kant ihre Strahlen zugleich in eines Menschen Geist werfen konnten. (I admit that I do not believe my doctrine could have been conceived, before the Upanishads, Kant, and Plato have shed light into man's mind). Apparently, there is an order in the listing, with the Upanishads being most important. The influences listed in the template in the article, on the other hand, are informatory overload. I will adapt the template and move the influences listed to the article itself ' 01:45, 29 April 2006 (UTC)'Reply[reply]

If you are the person who added Popper to the list, then yes, this is definitely accurate. I've read in Bryan Magee's book "Confessions of a Philosopher" that Schopenhauer was the first philosopher that Popper read also. --Knucmo2 20:28, 7 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Popper distances himself from Schopenhauer on many points, e.g. pessimism, but he uses Schopenhauer's polemics against Hegel in his own writings extensively ("The Open Society and its Enemies"). Further, he sees in Schopenhauer an example of philosophising in the Kantian tradition. Since Popper himself claimed a strong connection to that tradition (through Jakob Friedrich Fries), Popper should be mentioned.
On the other hand, I think the list of influences on Schopenhauer should be scrutinized. '- 13:09, 8 May 2006 (UTC)'Reply[reply]


I have called Fichte's idealism "extreme" for good reason: my basic understanding of Fichte is that he says that the phenomena that we experience is actually created by our minds and the human body in nature. This was certainly a radical position compared with Kant, Schelling, Berkeley and Hegel. --Knucmo2 08:36, 29 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Buddhaist (sic)

Google for Schopenhauer and Buddhaist. You will find entries in the German wikipedia as well as a page from the Schopenhauer Gesellschaft (in German, unfortunately). Also, English links appear. Is that enough? '- 23:17, 1 May 2006 (UTC)'Reply[reply]

There is a great US American Master's thesis published on Schopenhauer and Eastern Thought. It is entitled "Arthur Schopenhauer's Philosophy: And the Chandogya Upanishad". It focuses most on Vedanta and denies the influence of Buddhism on the "The World As Will and Representation" since Schopenhauer was not yet familiar with Buddhism. There is a lot of good material in this Master's thesis that clears up many misconception approached on this page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:21, 2 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Buddha again

I set a link to Theravada when citing the connection to the Buddha, because Schopenhauer was familiar with writings from the Theravada tradition. Maybe that should be mentioned explicitly. '- 13:03, 8 May 2006 (UTC)'Reply[reply]

Sadly, no, Schopenhauer was not well-read in Theravada Buddhism. The complete list of sources on Buddhism that S. had access to was relatively small, and if you look over his collected comments on the subject, you'll see that he picked up the assumption that "Buddhism of the Burmese school", viz, Theravada, was somehow unimportant to the history of the religion. Instead, Schopenhauer makes repeated references to the Prajnaparamita Lit. (early Mahayana & Madhyamaka works) --but, honestly, he had only a very vague notion of what the distinctions were between these groups. Schopenhauer's work on Hinduism has a similarly "distant" relationship to the source texts; and this is "fair enough", as Schopenhauer doesn't make any false claims to competency or knowledge of Sanskrit & Pali sources. His statement about "Metemphyschosis" and ethics have actually become influential among many Hindus and Buddhists in Asia --although they had little to do with any school of either religion to begin with.
At any rate, I have never seen any indication that Schopenhauer was especially familiar with Theravada sources; he did, however, pretend to be familiar with Prajnaparamita-Madhyamaka sources.
Pretend to be familiar? If you read the last paragraph of his main work, you will see that he had a very good understanding of the Prajna-Paramita. Should I quote it here for you?Lestrade 21:09, 3 June 2006 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]
I would appreciate a link to the passge. — goethean 17:58, 5 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would like to add that though Schopenhauer didn't read alot about Buddhism, he did have alot of knowledge on this subject compared to others at his time. The same goes for Nietzsche. The only problem was that they misimterpreted certain parts of buddhism.User_talk:Dionisian_Individual 11:07, 11 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In the "Sinology" chapter of his On the Will in Nature, Schopenhauer listed all of the many books and articles that he had read regarding Buddhism. They include many academic works by recognized scholars. The list can be seen at in Section 2.4 entitled "Was konnte Schopenhauer vom Buddhismus wissen?". 18:16, 7 August 2006 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]

Schopenhauer was responding to the objection that "...after our observations have finally brought us to the point where we have before our eyes, in perfect saintliness, the denial and surrender of all willing, and thus a deliverance from a world whose whole existence presented itself to us as suffering, this now appears to us as a transition into empty nothingness." He then explained that "...the concept of nothing is essentially relative, and always refers to a definite something that it negates." Most of his final paragraph is as follows:

But we now turn our glance from our own needy and perplexed nature to those who have overcome the world, in whom the will, having reached complete self-knowledge, has found itself again in everything, and then freely denied itself, and who then merely wait to see the last trace of the will vanish with the body that is animated by that trace. Then, instead of the restless pressure and effort; instead of the constant transition from desire to apprehension and from joy to sorrow; instead of the never-satisfied and never-dying hope that constitutes the life-dream of the man who wills, we see that peace that is higher than all reason, that ocean-like calmness of the spirit, that deep tranquility, that unshakable confidence and serenity , whose mere reflection in the countenance, as depicted by Raphael and Correggio, is a complete and certain gospel. Only knowledge remains; the will has vanished. We then look with deep and painful yearning at that state, beside which the miserable and desperate nature of our own appears in the clearest light by contrast. Yet this consideration is the only one that can permanently console us, when, on the one hand, we have recognized incurable suffering and endless misery as essential to the phenomenon of the will, to the world, and on the other see the world melt away with the abolished will, and retain before us only empty nothingness. In this way, therefore, by contemplating the life and conduct of saints, to meet with whom is of course rarely granted to us in our own experience, but who are brought to our notice by their recorded history, and, vouched for with the stamp of truth by art, we have to banish the dark impression of that nothingness which as the final goal hovers behind all virtue and holiness, and which we fear as children fear darkness. We must not even evade it, as the Indians do, by myths and meaningless words, such as reabsorption in Brahman, or the Nirvana of the Buddhists. On the contrary, we freely acknowledge that what remains after the complete abolition of the will is, for all who are still full of the will, assuredly nothing. But also conversely, to those in whom the will has turned and denied itself, this very real world of ours with all its suns and galaxies, is – nothing.

Schopenhauer added this footnote:

This is also the Prajna-Paramita of the Buddhists, the "beyond all knowledge," in other words, the point where subject and object no longer exist. See Isaac J. Schmidt, On the Mahajana and Prajna-Paramita.

— Schopenhauer's Footnote

Lestrade 19:30, 5 June 2006 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]

Lestrade: your own comment simply makes it abundantly clear that you have absolutely no level of primary-source familiarity with the Prajnaparamita and Madhyamaka traditions. Fortunately for you, neither did Schopenhauer. Either you read Sanskrit, or you don't. Not only are you and Schopenhauer alike in your reliance on third-hand reports of badly translated rumours about ancient Indian philosophies, you're also alike in your absurd self-confidence in your own (supposed) ability to make wild comparative judgements about them. Comparing something known to something unknown will always yield degrees of likeness. Good luck with that Sanskrit primer --and please, try to exercise a degree of restraint in drawing wild conclusions about alien fields of philosophic study that you have not dedicated the years of philological discipline required to judge.

Mr. or Ms. Anonymous, perhaps you would care to enlighten us as to the correct and proper interpretation of Buddhism. This is a serious and important topic. If my characterization is incorrect, I would very much like to know why it is incorrect and also what is the correct interpretation. To imply that only Sanskrit readers can possibly know the truth is to trivialize the abilities of people who translate that language into English. Schopenhauer read the most recognized and accepted translations of Buddhism that were published during the mid-1800s. Paul Deussen, the noted Sanskrit scholar, was in total agreement with Schopenhauer's interpretation of Buddhism. Many objections come from people who want to interpret Buddhism as a religion that is similar to the three monotheistic religions of Judaism and its subsidiaries Christianity and Islam. This, however, was not in accordance with the Buddhism that Schopenhauer described.Lestrade 15:48, 18 March 2007 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]

Nietzsche's misunderstanding

The "Common misconceptions" section underscores the quintessence of Nietzsche's repudiation of Schopenhauer's thought and philosophy, namely, he formulated a wholesale rejection of his pessimistic ideas, and as such this material—

Nietzsche seems to have made this misinterpretation, leading some people to a distorted view of Schopenhauer. The following sentence from The Twilight of the Idols is often quoted:

He has interpreted art, heroism, genius, beauty, great sympathy, knowledge, the will to truth, and tragedy, in turn, as consequences of "negation" or of the "will's" need to negate.

Schopenhauer did see all these things as means to a more peaceful and enlightened way of life, but none of them were "denial of the will-to-live". Only asceticism is referred to in that way. 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.

—is in turn a misconception about Nietzsche's position; therefore, if no objections, from an academic source, are put forward, then I will go about deleting this from the section entirely. — ignis scripta 21:23, 29 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wrong Approach

User: tried to insert information on Schopenhauer's writings regarding dialectics. However, the information was placed in the "Philosophy" section of the Schopenhauer article. User:Aey deleted the information as being unrelated to Schopenhauer's philosophy. It would have been better if User: had created a separate Wikipedia article on the topic and then merely referenced it in the main Schopenhauer article.Lestrade 14:50, 22 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Politics section

I've noticed some anonymous users have the propensity to declare what is "reality" regarding Schopenhauer. I'll put it simply: follow the guidelines of Wikipedia and nothing will be dismissed. If there are any further points regarding said material, then try to discuss it here before inserting it; gratuitous quoting isn't "sourced material" -- but scholar's interpretations are acceptable. And don't make false accusations about other users -- it won't get you far (see WP:AGF). Aey 09:45, 31 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Pronunciation guide

A pronunciation guide has been added recommending that people say the name as [ˈaɐtuːɐ ˈʃoːpənˌhaʊɐ]. Is this an attempt to represent a German pronunciation of the name? Curious, since it contains the non-English vowel [ɐ]. If instead it is an attempt to represent a non-rhotic English pronunciation, it should be changed to represent the pronunciation of the majority of native English speakers. FWIW, the name "Arthur" was somewhat unusual in a German speaking area in the late eighteenth century; it is of English origin, and as such the English native pronunciation ['aɽθəɽ] is perfectly acceptable in English. - Smerdis of Tlön 16:51, 20 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Denial of Will - Nirvana equivalence is incorrect as stated.

I am new to this, so rather than edit the article, I am posting my suggestion here. I do hope the change will be made, though. Here is the sentence that jumps out at me:

"Buddhist Nirvana is equivalent to the condition that Schopenhauer described as denial of the will."

I see the parallel, and I understand that Schopenhauer's philosophy has traditionally been described as sharing ground with Buddhism, so I agree that some comparisson is appropriate, but having just read that "denial of the will" could come about as a result of profound suffering and the loss of the will to live, I must assert that this is not the same thing as Buddhist Nirvana. That sounds more like major depression with sever suicide risk, something not at all conducive to reaching Nirvana.

Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism both describe Nirvana as liberation, specifically from Samsara, the cycle of death and re-birth. I don't think Schopenhauer was talking about liberation from Samsara. He was talking about Liberation from something, clearly, but not Samsara.

In Mahayana Buddhism, one who is liberated from Samsara continues to exist, but does not suffer and generates no karma. One in such a rare state can choose to help all sentient beings, and can eventually become a Buddha. In the Tibetan tradition which I studied, this is what happened in the case of the Śākyamuni, (the historical Buddha) and will happen 995 more times before the end of this universe, with the next Buddha, Maitreya, due to appear in about 180,000 years, or maybe it was generations.

So, I obviously haven't kept up my studies, but my point is that we are a long way from Schopenhaur's "denail of the will" now, yet all these concepts are essential to "Buddhist Nirvana."

Perhaps the solution is as simple as adding "Schopenhauer believed that Buddhist Nirvana is..." or "(such and such Schopenhauer writer) believed that Buddhist Nirvana is..."

Thank you. Sevenwarlocks 23:12, 6 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Gautama Siddhartha himself was affected by seeing the suffering of other people. That is how his awakening and his journey towards Nirvana began. After observing sickness, old age, and death, he became an ascetic. An ascetic relinquishes willing, craving, and desire. When he realized his Four Noble Truths, Buddha showed how Nirvana was related to self-denial.
Schopenhauer associated Nirvana with denial of the will in the following passage:

[T]o die willingly, to die gladly, to die cheerfully, is the prerogative of the resigned, of him who gives up and denies the will-to-live. For he alone wishes to die actually and not merely apparently, and consequently needs and desires no continuance of his person. He willingly gives up the existence that we know; what comes to him instead of it is in our eyes nothing, because our existence in reference to that one is nothing. The Buddhist faith calls that existence Nirvana, that is to say, extinction.

Schopenhauer correctly understood the meaning of Nirvana. In a footnote to this passage, Schopenhauer listed the various etymologies of the word Nirvana, according to his reading. These were “to blow out,” “extinguished,” “a lull or calm,” “extinction,” “annihilation,” “absence of sinful desires,” “departed or escaped from misery,” or “complete vanishing.” Also, “Nirvana is the opposite of Samsara, which is the world of constant rebirths, of craving and desire, of the illusion of the senses, of changing and transient forms, of being born, growing old, becoming sick, and dying.”
Professor Moira Nicholls listed some correspondences between Nirvana and denial of the will.

First, neither Nirvana nor denial of the will is amenable to adequate description in ordinary language. Second, neither Nirvana nor denial of the will entails nihilism; that is, neither entails the denial of all possibility of value in existence. Finally, both Nirvana and denial of the will signify the end of craving or willing and the cessation of suffering.

— Moira Nicholls, “The Influences of Eastern Thought on Schopenhauer’s Doctrine of the Thing-in-Itself,” The Cambridge Companion to Schopenhauer, Ch. 6
Schopenhauer discussed the relative nothingness that results from denial of the will:

We must not evade it, as the Indians do, by myths and meaningless words, such as reabsorption in Brahman, or the Nirvana of the Buddhists. On the contrary, we freely acknowledge that what remains after the complete abolition of the will is, for all who are still full of the will, assuredly nothing. But also conversely, to those in whom the will has turned and denied itself, this very real world of ours with all its suns and milky ways, is – nothing.

If Nirvana is the absence of craving, and its result, the absence of suffering, isn't that equivalent to denial of will? Absence = denial. Craving = Will.

Lestrade 13:24, 7 September 2006 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]

Greetings Lestrade, please allow me to grant that you know a great deal more about Schopenhauer than I, but in describing the relationship between denial of will and Buddhist Nirvana, equivalence is too strong a word. To put a finer point on my argumet, any independent study of Gautama Siddhartha's teachings, no matter how duitiful, is not, in itself, Buddhism. Buddhism is a vast tradition - a religion, as practiced - even if its underlying teachings make for a satisfying non-religious philosophy. Physical reincarnation of the spirit in a new form, and Nirvana as the end of reincarnation, are fundamental beliefs of the religion. Any conception of Nirvana that lacks this element is not Buddhist Nirvana.
In my own Buddhist study and practice, I found scant acceptance within the religion of the de-mystified, scientifically inoffensive Buddhist derivates so common in the west. The view of Nirvana that permeats western thinking is just that - a western view. Schopenhauer could have understood the etymology of the word Nirvana better than Gautama Siddhartha for all I know, but that doesn't make his view align with the Buddhist religion. Let me ask, what is the advantage of stating Schopenhauer's assertion of their equivalence as if it were a point of fact?

My discussion of the sameness of Buddhist Nirvana and Schopenhauerian Denial of the Will is merely based on an attempt at the elucidation of the concept of Nirvana, as well as of Schopenhauer's ethics. This concept of Nirvana has been widely contaminated by its association with the concepts of enlightenment and reincarnation. In its original purity, Nirvana is simply a negative concept which is the opposite of the positive concept suffering. In other words, it means no craving, and therefore no suffering. Buddhism, which was founded by Prince Gautama Siddhartha Sakyamuni in India around 600 B.C., resulted from his hyper-sensitive awareness of the human condition. This condition entailed old age, sickness, and death, being therefore a condition of suffering. He realized, in his Four Noble Truths, that suffering was extinguished when attachment and desire were extinguished. This extinction or non-existence was poetically called Nirvana, as the blown-out flame of a candle. In the nineteenth century, Schopenhauer independently came to the same realization. A comparison of the thoughts of these two men leads to a clearer understanding of each. Why is that objectionable? If you look at the Talk section of the Wikipedia article on Nirvana, you will see that I am struggling there also to separate Nirvana from enlightenment (bodhi) and reincarnation (karma), which are distinctly different concepts. Lestrade 20:54, 8 September 2006 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]

Obviously, the sameness of Nirvana and denial of the will depends very much on how one translates the pali term tanha. Usually, it is literally translated as "thirst" and conventially as "craving". If the meaning of the word does reflect what Schopenhauer meant with will (to live), then it is quite obvious that Nirvana and denial of the will are the same, since the third noble truth states that the end of suffering (Pali: nirodha) is the end of that very same thirst or craving (Pali tanha). To my knowledge, nirodha and nirvana are synonymous.

On this site (, tanha is described as :“the will to live, the fear of death, and love for life, that force or energy which causes rebirth.”(Note on the title of Chapter 24—Tanha). Using this definition, the term tanha would be in accord with Schopenhauer`s will (to live).

It should be noted however, that the 4 noble truths are not regarded as the core teachings of Buddhism by some scholars, many Mahayanaists do not even come in contact with them. There is a lot of confusion about the term Nirvana and it is described in various ways, so one should best stick to the 4 Noble Truths and nirodha to avoid confusion and be precice, when trying to compare both ideas.

The current view in the article, by the way states that Nirvana and denial of the will are different and no support for that view is given. Schopenhauerian (talk) 19:20, 25 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why truck?

Writing about a classical philosopher's ideas, we should try using examples by them directly or at least with objects, which existed in their era. Therefore, I don't like the word "truck" in this sentence in the article: "We understand that a watermelon cannot successfully occupy the same space as an oncoming truck." We know that, but the great philosopher did not. Smallchanges 17:06, 11 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Seems to be a legitimate point to me. Amerindianarts 00:40, 12 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Technically, the word truck has been in English since the sixteenth century. Its original meaning was of the cart or wagon that hauled vegetables to the market, typically drawn by heavy plough horses. - Smerdis of Tlön 21:00, 16 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The example about the watermelon and the truck is not Schopenhauer's example. It is an example created by a Wikipedia editor for the article. Schopenhauer's writing was the clearest and most easily understood of all philosophers. If any examples are used, it would be best to use Schopenhauer's own examples instead of a Wikipedia editor's.Lestrade 23:07, 16 October 2006 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]

Buddhism and Schopenhauer

User:Fratley deleted the word "coincidence" in relation to the similarity between Schopenhauer's philosophy and Buddhism. However, it should be noted that Schopenhauer was not influenced by Buddhism when he wrote his major work and published it in 1819. His philosophy had been created before he was exposed to that religion. After he had become aware of the basic thoughts that constitute his philosophy, he learned that Buddhism shared his outlook and he was able to refer to it in order to exhibit examples of his teaching.Lestrade 13:46, 4 November 2006 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]

In the "Politics" section, at the end, Joscelyn Godwin is said to assert that Schopenhauer was influenced by Buddhism. This is incorrect. As stated in the above posting, Schopenhauer created his whole philosophy before he was familiar with Buddhism. Afterwards, he became aware of the close similarity between his philosophy and that religion.Lestrade 15:34, 12 December 2006 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]
This is splitting hairs somewhat: take a glance at the last paragraph of the last page of the last volume of World as Will and Representation --and the footnote. Schopenhauer's "mature and final" works make copious use of allusions to Buddhism, and comparisons of his own conclusions to Buddhism (NB: he went back and revised all of his earlier works in old age --a few would say to the detriment of the text in some cases). So, in the text as we have it today, Buddhism is most definitely a palpable and obvious influence; but if you read the "unrevised" text of The Fourfold Root..., then, yes, there is no Buddhist influence --and if you take it on faith that early work of this kind really does represent and unchanging philosophy vs. Schopenhauer 40 years later, then, yes, you could argue, in some obtuse or abstruse sense, that the earliest stratum of Schopenhauer's work is uninfluenced by Buddhism. It would be simpler and truer to just point out that his use of Buddhism is fairly simplified to begin with, based on bad translations of a limited range of sources, etc. etc. --but he made as much use of Buddhism as he could (and as soon as he could). —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 15:13, 18 March 2007 (UTC).Reply[reply]

Will Subject to the Principle of Sufficient Reason or Will as Thing-In-Itself?

"Schopenhauer's starting point was Kant's division of the universe into phenomenon and noumenon, claiming that the noumenon was the same as that in us which we call Will."

The latter part of this sentence is simply false. There is that in us about which we have immediate knowledge, which we call "will" (lowercase); and this will, as the sole object of self-consciousness, is wholly phenomenal and representational (Cf. The Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, Ch. VII, § 41). This will we can and do know.

The thing-in-itself, the noumenon, however, can never be known. Therefore, if the noumenon can never be known, and the noumenon is the same as what we call will, about which we do have knowledge, then we both have and do not have knowledge about the will, which is abusrd.

The sentence corrected might read as follows: "[...] claiming that the noumenon be named Will, after the phenomenon known most immediately and distinctly, after the sole object for self-consciousness, which is the human will."

The following propositions seem to need further clarification, explanation, and textual justification:

“Will is said to be prior to being.”

“When Schopenhauer identifies the noumenon with the desires, needs, and impulses in us that we name "Will," what he is saying is that we participate in the reality of an otherwise unachievable world outside the mind through will.”

“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.”

(How does it follow logically—as in “thus”—that living in the world of phenomena leads to eternal torment? Schopenhauer clearly states that the individual shall at some point cease to be, and this will be the end of his desire and of his suffering.)Riteofapollo 05:26, 27 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposed addition to Works of Schopenhauer

I have a book here called The Art of Literature: A Series of Essays, by Arthur Schopenhauer. I don't have all the information required to add the book to the list of works (I don't know the original-language title, it doesn't have an ISBN, and the only publication-date information I can find is in the Translator's Preface, dated February 1891) so I was wondering if someone else who knows of the book could add the relevant information. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 07:37, 25 February 2007 (UTC).Reply[reply]

The Art of Literature comes from his Parerga und Paralipomena, as do Counsels and Maxims and The Wisdom of Life.
— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:31, 5 December 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The article says he was born in Danzig, while Sztutowo says he was born in that nearby village; which is correct? Olessi 22:42, 6 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This remains unfixed. The infobox and article contradict each other. Does anyone have a reliable source on this issue? JRWalko 02:07, 15 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy says Danzig, which is as authoritative as you are likely to get outside of a biography.Skomorokh incite 03:37, 15 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Schopenhauer on Hegel

This passage from The World as Will and Representation ([E.F.J. Payne trans., Volume I, Dover, 1966, p.429], see [1]) might be considered even more trenchant:

rudra 22:25, 29 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The World as Will and Presentation?

Hello fellow Schopenhauer fans. This is Mr.P

I was wondering what some of you thought of the title of the latest translation of Schopenhauer's masterwork.

They have translated it as The World as Will and Presentation.

Will this lead to a misunderstanding of Schopenhauer's idealism? Mr.P (the Zapffe enthusiast) 23:29, 1 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Pluhar's recent (admired) translation of Kant's critique of Pure Reason also replaces representation by presentation.Kant4u 11:49, 6 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Idealism" is an ambiguous name. It has several meanings, depending on its context. It is almost always misunderstood.
That's why Kant's idealism is called "transcendental idealism" -- to differentiate it from Berkeley's and other's Idealisms. Schopenhauers idealism is a variation on this. Ergo, you always need to specify which kind of idealism you are dealing with.Kant4u 11:49, 6 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Some translators prefer "presentation" to either "representation" or "idea" as English equivalents to "Vorstellung." They consider a mental image of an object as being present in the mind, not re-present, or an image of an image.Lestrade 12:37, 1 May 2007 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]
But it's a representation of the external object. Guyer & Wood's equally respected recent translation of CPR uses "representation".Kant4u 11:49, 6 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

But if Vorstellung is translated to "presentation", won't this make out that Schopenhauer denied the existence of the external world (the thing-in-itself), which he didn't?

No, why should it. Kant certainly belived in the existence of the external world, which did not stop Pluhar using "presentation".Kant4u 11:49, 6 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

According to Schopenhauer, the world, as it is in-itself, is presented to a subject who then conditions, or re-presents, this world as it is in-itself, in his/her mental apparatus (time, space, causality etc.) (W as W & R, Vol. 2, p.9) .

This sounds wrong. If you are presented a prize, you have the prize. But you can never have the 'thing in itself'. You can only have a representation of it.Kant4u 11:49, 6 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ultimately, this means that the world as it is in-itself (the boundless, purposeless and impersonal will to life) and the world of representation (the conditioned appearance of the thing-in-itself that a subject knows) are one and the same thing, seen from two perspectives.

... but you can never see the the thing-in-itself Kant4u 11:49, 6 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As Arthur Danto wrote, in Connections to the World, there are three components to cognition. These are (1.) the observing subject, (2.) the image in the subject's mind, and (3.) the world that is exterior to the subject. If we think of cognition as being a relation between only the subject and its mental image, then the mental image is a presentation. The image presents itself to the mind. If we think of cognition as being a relation between the subject, the mental image, and the world, then the subject's mental image is a representation.

I think I agree with this. You are saying (?): The image presents itself to the subject. The real-world object is represented by the image. The subject sees a representation of the real-world object presented to it as an image.Kant4u 16:28, 11 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That is, the objects in the world can be said to present themselves, as it were, to the presentation that is in the subject's mind. This is a re-presentation.Lestrade 13:36, 10 May 2007 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]

This is unclear to me, I'll try and untangle it... How about this for an explanation of Schopenhauer's theory of presentation/representation: The objects in the world present themselves to the brain. The brain creates a representation of the objects. Taking Schopenhauers double aspect theory on board, this is also a representation (image)in the mind. The subject is presented with this image, and becomes cognate of it. Kant4u 16:28, 11 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Inheriting Intelligence

Schopenhauer made a very bold assertion when he said that intelligence is inherited from the mother, will from the father. I just read a biography of the logician Alfred Tarski on the Web at [2]. It claimed "Ignacy Teitelbaum (Tarski's father) had married Rosa Prussak and, although Rosa never had a career, and therefore never had the opportunity to show her intellect, it was through his mother rather than his father that Tarski inherited his brilliance." I have seen other biographies which support S.'s claim. Could it be true? It should be easy to verify.Lestrade 22:00, 30 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Influences and Influenced

I have started a discussion regarding the Infobox Philosopher template page concerning the "influences" and "influenced" fields. I am in favor of doing away with them. Please join the discussion there. RJC Talk 14:12, 3 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

On Hegel

"Schopenhauer thought that Hegel used deliberately impressive but ultimately vacuous jargon and neologisms." Did he (Schopenhauer) really think that? I doubt it and think this needs a cite. It is not a good characterization of any criticism of Hegel by Schopenhauer in the article, or that I have ever seen. It singles out some of the very few crimes against language that Hegel did not commit, and in fact criticized and ridiculed. Hegel didn't use extraordinary language, he used ordinary language in strange ways.John Z 03:22, 28 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Did he really? How do you define "strange?" Unconventional? Eccentric? Cranky?Lestrade 12:44, 28 May 2007 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]
I don't really understand your questions. I clarified my remark above a bit. I don't think there has ever been any dispute about Hegel's style, his "grotesque craggy melody" although it is besides the point here. By strange - e.g. extremely long, hard to understand, sometimes ungrammatical sentences. Walter Kauffman has some examples of these. But this doesn't address my point; I think the sentence in the article is clearly novel and false as a criticism of Hegel, and as far as I have seen, false as a criticism of Hegel by Schopenhauer. Where does Schopenhauer say anything like that? "Deliberately impressive but ultimately vacuous verbiage" would be a different but accurate summary of what is in the article.John Z 19:52, 28 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Schopenhauer an Atheist...

It seems that Schopenhauer is no longer considered an atheist in his article, although if you type "Schopenhauer an atheist" in google, many references pop up. Not to mention two of my philosophy books mentioning Schopenhauer an atheist: The Story of Philosophy by Bryan Magee and Essential Philosophy by James Mannion.

And so on.

Schopenhauer did not assume that there is a white–bearded person who sits on a cloud and controls everything that happens in the universe. He was one of the first philosophers who was brave enough to omit such thinking from his writing. He was only a few years away from the kind of punishment that Wolff suffered, not to mention previous thinkers who were burned or tortured to death.Lestrade 15:18, 23 June 2007 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]
He was only a few years away from...
Well, about a hundred... But yes, Schopenhauer was for his time radically free from religious thought --- at least of the Christian variety. — goethean 16:14, 23 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

He was not free of religious thought. He was free of theistic thought. His ethics were the same as Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, and Sufi ethics. But he did not assume the actuality of God or gods.Lestrade 22:53, 23 June 2007 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]

Don't lump ethics into religion, please. Reinistalk 09:55, 4 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Section Organization and Prioritization

Why is there no section on Schopenhauer's affirmation and denial of the will to live? All of the fourth book of his principal work is devoted to this. From what I can tell, what is said about the denial of the will to live can only be found in the section on Buddhism. Why is it that "Schopenhauer and Buddhism" is categorized under "Schopenhauer's Philosophy" in the first place? Why is there a lengthier section on Schopenhauer's opinion about women than there is on his moral theory? Schopenhauer wrote one essay on women, but two books and several essays on morality. Why no section on Schopenhauer and Nietzsche? The section "Schopenhauer's metaphysics" is nothing more than his aesthetic theory. Aesthetics falls under representation, under phenomena, that is, there is a subject knowing an object, and this all occurs in the physical realm, not the metaphysical. So even though aesthetic contemplation is closer to metaphysics than is the everyday experience of the world, it is not fully metaphysical. Schopenhauer's metaphysics only concerns the Will. --Riteofapollo 14:37, 28 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It is likely that Schopenhauer's profound and shocking thoughts about the denial of the will are not included in the article because Wikipedia editors haven't read Schopenhauer's book. Because of Wikipedia's policy regarding original research and its deference to secondary sources, editors are probably relying on secondary sources which avoid this topic. There is a reference to two Wikipedia articles that discuss Schopenhauer's ethics. Schopenhauer's criticism of Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals shows Schopenhauer's discussion from his On the Basis of Morality. On the Freedom of the Will summarizes his thoughts on this important issue. If possible, I will try, in the near future, to contribute additions regarding the topics that you mention.Lestrade 17:45, 28 June 2007 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]


It might be valuable to have a section regarding Schopenhauer's relation to academia. Beside the fact that he criticized his professorial contemporaries in many of his writings, he is ignored by academia because of his clarity. With a clear writer, there is no need for a professor to explain what the writer means. Hegel, who is the darling of academia even to this day, requires a priesthood that can interpret his cryptic writings into words that lay individuals can understand. There is no need for a translation from the hieratic to the demotic with Schopenhauer, thus the translators are put out of business.Lestrade 15:27, 17 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Obit anus, abit onus" (The old woman dies, the burden is lifted).

"Obit anus, abit onus" (The old woman dies, the burden is lifted).

This quote is attributed to Schopenhauer but does not seem to be a correct translation from the Latin. I am no Latin expert but I do speak a couple Romance languages. I assumed that "anus" (in Latin) could only be translated as either "anus" or "ring" in English. How could it be translated as "old woman"? I appreciate any help from you Latin scholars out there! 09:05, 18 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Anus" REFERS to the old woman: Schopenhauer is callng her an anus. The translator is being genteel. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 00:08:46, August 20, 2007 (UTC)

My Latin dictionary gives two definitions of anus. As a male noun, it means "the fundament." That is the same as "the buttocks." As a female noun, it means "an old woman." Also, it is used like the adjective "old." This is straight out of "Cassell's New Compact Latin Dictionary," edited by D.P. Simpson, M.A., Assistant Master and formerly Head of the Classical Department at Eton College.Lestrade 12:04, 18 July 2007 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]

. Thanks for your quick and informative response Lestrade. Vilcakid

Contrary to the Wikipedia article's definition of Anus, my dictionary gives the Latin word for "ring" as anulus. Lestrade 12:24, 19 July 2007 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]

My Puzzle

Arthur Schopenhauer had some of the most brilliant ideas in the history of humanity. However, it seems that many Wikipedians think that the most important part of the article is the issue of where he was born. Was it Danzig or Gdansk? Was it is Prussia or Poland? I am trying to understand this. Maybe it is because these same people have never read Schopenhauer's books.Lestrade 18:29, 26 July 2007 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]

The note at the top of the page is pretty unambiguous, no? Skomorokh incite 19:26, 26 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Please note important edit of August 24, 2007: "Change name of Gdańsk city (official name of this city is Gdańsk, not Danzig (German translation))".Lestrade 12:35, 24 August 2007 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]

The article IMPLIES that Schopenhauer was Anti-Semitic (i.e. Anti-Jewish)...

However, being anti-JUDAISM or opposed to the Wentaschauung which ancient Judaism developed and has been taught to the word over the centuries is NOT the same thing as being Anti-Semitic (or Anti-Jewish [Jews aren't the only Semities]). I know not enough of Schopenhauer to say he was or was not Anti-Semitic (or Anti-Jewish), or whatever. But I'd hope that if this article is going to continue to IMPLY such that someone will add some evidence and support for such. Until then (and/or otherwise) it is purely conjecture. --Carlon 19:40, 8 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Antisemitism scholar Paul Lawrence Rose states: "Nietzsche observed that 'Wagner's hatred of the Jews is Schopenhauerian', and indeed one of the Schopenhauerian elements that Wagner drew on was the concept of an 'Aryan Christianity' (adumbrated by Fichte)...

On Schopenhauer's anti-Semitism (which invokes the mythology of Ahasverus), see H.W. Brann, Schopenhauer und das Judentum (Bonn, 1975); A. Low, Jews in the Eyes of the Germans: From the Enlightenment to Imperial Germany (Philadelphia, 1979), pp. 321-327; N. Rotensreich, Jews and German Philosophy (New York, 1974), pp. 179-200. R. Hollinrake, Nietzsche, Wagner and the Philosophy of Pessimism (London, 1982), pp. 59, 129ff., appreciates the significance of Schopenhauer's anti-Semitism both for his general philosophy and for its influence on Wagner..." (from Paul Lawrence Rose, Revolutionary Antisemitism in Germany from Kant to Wagner, Princeton University Press, 2007, p. 372-373). Rose later on argues that Schopenhauer influenced Hitler's anti-Semitism. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:16, 11 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Who cares what Nietzsche observed. Schopenhauer was not anti-Semitic. Provide a cite for his purported anti-Semitism from his writings and we'll see if he is. Commentary is worthless since for every claim of anti-Semitism from a clueless Wagnerian or Nietzschean scholar we can find a Schopenhaurean scholar who claims the exact opposite (see, e.g., Bryan Magee in _The Philosophy of Schopenhauer_). 11:09, 11 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Schopenhauer's ideas on psychology, epistemology, logic, history, art, religion, and many aspect of life were some of the most profound that were ever written by a human. Instead of trying to understand his ideas, this section is cluttered with concerns about his opinion of Jews, the correct name of his birthplace, his influence on Hitler, and other unessential matters. That is a reflection of the minds of the people who think that these topics are the most important. It almost seems as though these people have not read any of Schopenhauer's works.Lestrade 12:54, 11 October 2007 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]

Lestrade, Schopenhauer's non-politically-correct views on feminism, Jews, etc. are not neatly divorceable from the rest of his philosophy; his philosophy is an integrated whole deriving from one main source. Pretending that Schopenhauer's understanding of the Jewish philosophy is irrelevant is self-deceiving. Even certain Jews understand, see below:

Isn't it inconsistent to say, "Schopenhauer's views were profound", and then in another breath say, "But Schopenhauer's views on Jews and the place of women in society were Stone Age" as if Schopenhauer himself were some sort of schizophrenic headcase instead of we ourselves being schizophrenic due to our politically-correct cognitive dissonance. The same situation applies to Nietzsche: the mainstream Western academic intelligentsia pretends to love Nietzsche and appreciate his genius, but on certain topics (anti-democracy, anti-socialism, anti-feminism, pro-eugenics, etc.) Nietzsche's views are deemed by the hypocritical left-wing taboo-enforcers as the "unfortunate product of his times" or either they are soft-peddled by the likes of Kaufmann, or even "interpreted out of existence" by deconstructionists. It is time for modern Western academics caught in cognitive dissonance to finally grow some balls for once and face the reality that the great minds and heroes of Western culture do not conform to their trendy left-wing prejudices. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:11, 11 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well said. But, I believe that it is important to understand Schopenhauer's explanations of such things as free will, capital punishment, the state, human character, human sexuality, the difference between perceptions and concepts, epistemological idealism, perception, and other matters on which his thoughts are not generally known.Lestrade 15:20, 11 October 2007 (UTC)LestradeReply[reply]
I have removed the anti-semitic sections from the article. This kind of deleterious characterization cannot be justified in an encyclopedia without substantial support that includes academically sanctioned citation. Indeed neither of the two major contemporary biographers (Magee & Safranski), nor any existing encyclopedia entries that I know of, refer to S. as anti-semitic. Anti-Judaism is appropriate but for that matter anti-Islamic might just as well apply,[1] these being religious, not ethnic, criticisms.
The quote that "Nietszche thought Wagner got his from Schopenhauer" is not sufficient. If there are those who think this charge is warranted, I invite them to bring forth evidence from the author's works right here. - Alcmaeonid (talk) 17:09, 19 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Alcmaeonid, I reinstated one of the three quotes, out of a sense of caution. If you think the source is not reliable, say something about that here. I'm open to discussion. The quote I kept seemed relevant to his philosophy of pessimism (according to which he would logically denigrate a religion of optimism). But I'm no expert here. Best,Anthony Krupp (talk) 17:45, 19 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Anthony Krupp I identify wholeheartedly with your sense of caution. Yet I would submit: should not a greater caution be exercised before inflammatory labels like "anti-semitic" are applied? ...applied to eminent historical figures and contrary to all mainstream sources?
I think you might agree there seems to be a critical ellipsis in the quote: "Schopenhauer had professed... the antisemitism consisting in..." which renders a careful analysis impossible (it is also made more difficult to verify by being improperly sourced - not supplying an edition & page number.) I know nothing about Lazare except his Wikipedia entry which describes him as a "polemicist" and someone who, before authorizing a posthumous edition of the work quoted, cautioned: "my opinions have changed on many points." Thus I have invited whomever does have knowledge to come forward and supply some more information (don't know whether you could shed some light here or not.)
I would urge the quote be left out until made clear both by compliant citation and a complete sentence at the very least. Optimally with relevant citations from Schopenhauer's works themselves. Regards, Alcmaeonid (talk) 21:33, 19 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Per discussion above, I removed the following from the article, but leave it here in case it can be given due scrutiny. Anthony Krupp (talk) 22:02, 19 November 2007 (UTC):Reply[reply]

As noted scholar Bernard Lazare commented in his work Antisemitism: Its History and Causes: "Schopenhauer had professed...the antisemitism consisting in combating the optimism of the Jewish religion, an optimism which Schopenhauer found low and degrading, and with which he contrasted Greek and Hindu religious conceptions." (cf. Maria Groener, "Schopenhauer und die Juden" (Munich: Deutscher Volksverlag, n.d., about 1920); Micha Brumlik (1991), "Das Judentum in der Philosophie Schopenhauers", in Marcel Marcus, et al. (eds), "Israel und Kirche heute").

"Given that the whole ethical basis of Schopenhauer's philosophy is that all existent entities are merely physical expressions of an indifferent "Will to Exist", the implication being that the only diffence between a human being and a grain of wheat is that the wheat is not conscious of its own existence (and therefore freed from the suffering that entails)) I do think that those who are trying to make a superficial issue out of unprovable assertions regarding his alleged racist attitudes are barking up the wrong tree. Hegel's philosophy is far more racially dubious in his assertions regarding cultural evolution than Schopenhauer (See, for example, where Africa sits in his "Philosophy of History"). It was a big influence, after all, on Arthur Gobineau. Schopenhauer's valid criticism of this hierarchy of values would imply that he had no time for any form of racial inequality. I do think that those who are trying to smear him have clearly missed the essence of his position. It outweighs all the tantrums he throws about women etc." Alan Page —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:35, 9 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. ^ ref: "Consider the Koran, for example; this wretched book was sufficient to start a world-religion, to satisfy the metaphysical need of countless millions for twelve hundred years, to become the basis of their morality and of a remarkable contempt for death, and also to inspire them to bloody wars and the most extensive conquests. In this book we find the saddest and poorest form of theism. Much may be lost in translation, but I have not been able to discover in it one single idea of value." WWR 2, 162,

patriotic insanity

Since the Front page links here regarding the theory of "patriotic insanity", it would be nice to know what this is. 08:27, 2 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In chapter II of 'Parerga und Paralipomena' Schopenhauer writes: "Die billigste Art des Stolzes ist hingegen der Nationalstolz. Denn er verrät in dem damit Behafteten den Mangel an individuellen Eigenschaften, auf die er stolz sein könnte, indem er sonst nicht zu dem greifen würde, was er mit so vielen Millionen teilt. Wer bedeutende persönliche Vorzüge besitzt, wird vielmehr die Fehler seiner eigenen Nation, da er sie beständig vor Augen hat, am deutlichsten erkennen. Aber jeder erbärmliche Tropf, der nichts in der Welt hat, darauf er stolz sein könnte, ergreift das letzte Mittel, auf die Nation, der er gerade angehört, stolz zu sein." which Wikiquote translates to: "The cheapest form of pride however is national pride. For it betrays in the one thus afflicted the lack of individual qualities of which he could be proud, while he would not otherwise reach for what he shares with so many millions. He who possesses significant personal merits will rather recognise the defects of his own nation, as he has them constantly before his eyes, most clearly. But that poor beggar who has nothing in the world of which he can be proud, latches onto the last means of being proud, the nation to which he belongs to. Thus he recovers and is now in gratitude ready to defend with hands and feet all errors and follies which are its own." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:05, 13 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Schopenhauer Valued Religion

Earlier "Reinis" had the insolent nerve to snippily say, "Don't lump ethics into religion, please", as if he knew what he was talking about. ACTUALLY, it's quite small-minded of bigots like "Reinis" to dogmatically drive apart ethics and religion. Schopenhauer thought that good religions like Christianity, Brahmanism and Buddhism (as distinguished from mediocre religions like Islam and negative religions like Judaism) teach the common people how to live morally through their profound allegories:

"...the wise ancestors of the Indian people have directly expressed the vivid knowledge of eternal justice [and the delusion of separative egoism] in the VEDAS, permitted only to the three twice-born castes, or in the esoteric teaching, namely insofar as concept and language comprehend it; but in the religion of the people, or in exoteric teaching, they have communicated it only mythically [as in the myth of the transmigration of souls], for this myth makes intelligible the ethical significance of conduct... Religious teachings are all the mythical garments of the truth which is inaccessible to the crude human intellect. Myth might be called in Kant's language a postulate of practical reason..." (World as Will and Representation, Vol. 1, Section 52)

"All that can be thought only generally and in the abstract is quite inaccessible to the great majority of people. Thus, in order to bring that great truth [of self-transcendence] into the sphere of practical application, a mythical vehicle for it was needed everywhere for this great majority, a receptacle, so to speak, without which it would be lost and dissipated. The truth everywhere had to borrow the garb of fable, and in addition, had to try always to connect itself in each with what is historically given, and is already known and revered. That which SENSU PROPRIO was and remained inaccessible to the great masses of all times and countries with their low mentality, their intellectual stupidity, and their general brutality, had to be brought home to them SENSU ALLEGORICO for practical purposes, in order to be their guiding star.

Thus the above-mentioned religions [Christianity, Brahmanism, and Buddhism] are to be regarded as sacred vessels in which the great truth, recognized and expressed for thousands of years, possibly indeed since the beginning of the human race, and yet remaining in itself an esoteric doctrine as regards the great mass of mankind, is made accessible to them according to their powers, and preserved and passed on through the centuries. Yet because everything that does not consist throughout of the indestructible material of pure truth is subject to destruction, whenever this fate befalls such a vessel through contact with a heterogeneous age, the sacred contents must be saved in one way by another vessel, and preserved for mankind. Philosophy has the task of presenting those contents, since they are identical with pure truth, pure and unalloyed, hence merely in abstract concepts, and consequently without that vehicle, for those who are capable of thinking, the number of whom is at all times extremely small. Philosophy is related to religions as a straight line is to several curves running near it; for it expresses SENSU PROPRIO and consequently reaches directly that which religions show under disguises, and reach in roundabout ways." (World as Will and Representation, Vol. 2, On the Doctrine of the Denial of the Will-to-Live).

Someone should probably make a section explaining Schopenhauer's distinction between the exoteric and esoteric (similar to Rene Guenon) in religion and the value of religious allegories as "folk-metaphysics" in morally uplifting the masses to make sure the rabidly antireligious neo-Marxist nihilist sect knows they can't appropriate Schopenhauer as part of their conspiracy against civilization.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:33, 11 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Original Research Claim on Heredity/Eugenics

If this is original research, then the whole article is original research. And how are those labels weasel words? It is clear as day schopenhauer believed in the inalterable power of heredity and in eugenics, what is so controversial?

How could Schopenhauer be misunderstood by what he means when he speaks so clearly; his words are cited so everyone can see them for themselves without interpretive distortion...

Is it just that Schopenhauer's views are heretical in an age that believes in linear equality as its religion? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:29, 16 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I guess we should all sacrifice Schopenhauer on the altar of Neo-Marxist egalitarianism for his heretical views on race, eugenics, heredity, women, etc. just like the resentful filthy modern mob is crucifying James D. Watson now for actually having the high courage to state what every honest educated person knows is the harsh truth about race and intelligence. This is exactly what Nietzsche described as the disaster of human history: the masses of resentful, aristocidal under-men always trying to defame and destroy the rare geniuses and fearless achievers of the species... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:22, 19 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"In biographies of clearly German persons, the name should be used in the form Danzig (Gdańsk) and later Danzig exclusively"

That is the policy. Do not tolerate nationalistic POV pushing. -- Matthead discuß!     O       01:01, 18 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I strongly agree, but the country of birth is not forbidden by the vote. If "Hanseatic city" is allowed then so is "Poland". Think a little bit. Space Cadet 01:32, 18 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This article is about the person, not the many cities which are mentioned, Danzig being only one among many, no reason to squeeze Poland into it. Poles have absolutely nothing to do with Schopenhauer, Poland was anyway deleted from the map while Schopenhauer was still young. -- Matthead discuß!     O       02:20, 18 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The policy voted on clarifies that this article should refer to Danzig (Gdańsk) the first time, and later Danzig exclusively. Ok. The question is whether to mention the country to which this city belongs, or not. I see no reason not to: wikipedia is not made of paper. But I see no reason to be anachronistic and refer to Poland, if the country was called something else at the time. I appreciate that one might have concerns about some editors' alleged nationalistic POVs, according to which one wants to put Poland on the map and another wants to erase Poland from the map. That said, it's been interesting reading about the history of the partitions during my free time over the last day or so. I think I'm done here, but will watch the talk page for further discussion about the country name, should it prove necessary. Anthony Krupp 19:13, 19 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
One might argue that the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth was like the name suggests - a commonwealth of two countries. Certain things were common in the Commonwealth like the fief of Livonia, but most things (including strictly Polish province of Royal Prussia or strictly Polish fief of Ducal Prussia) were separate. Writing "Poland" is IMHO more accurate than "LPC". Thank you for taking time to read some Polish history, hope you get hooked. Space Cadet 22:48, 19 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Question: does the following apply here?

"For Gdansk and other locations that share a history between Germany and Poland, the first reference of one name in an article should also include a reference to other names, e.g. Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland) or Gdańsk (Danzig). An English language reference that primarily uses this name should be provided on the talk page if a dispute arises." Anthony Krupp 11:25, 19 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This talk page involves editors accusing one another of being "Polish nationalists" or "German nationalists," etc. I am uninterested in either motivation. The only thing that matters here, I think, is encyclopedic interest. If S. was born in "Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland)," and the vote allows for a phrase like "Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland)," then there is no reason I can see not to have it. If someone has a reason, please say so here. I agree that it seems wrong to call S. "a Polish philosopher," but I fail to see how a reasonable person could object to the phrase I'm proposing. But that's what talk pages are for. Of course, I now realize this has been part of a several-day edit war. For the moment, I'm revising the article so it says "Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland)."Anthony Krupp 11:45, 19 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you asked me, "Danzig (now Gdansk, Poland)" is fine. What's controversial about noting that? Nothing as far as I can see. The contemporary name for a location should rightly be shown so people know what the heck is being referred to. At any event, Danzig wasn't part of Germany or Prussia when Arthur was there. The Schopenhauers left precisely because Danzig's status as a free city was threatened, and annexation by the Prussians was imminent. So the city moved from being a Hansa free city --> Prussia --> Poland. Arthur left before the latter two developments so the territorial one upmanship is just silly and irrelevant. 00:30, 20 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The problem is that "Gdańsk" is not a new, post 1945 name of the city. In fact it is the original name much older than "Danzig". "Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland)," suggests strongly that the city was not in Poland at a time, and that it's name was not "Gdańsk". It was not a "free city" at Schopenhauer's birth but a part of Poland. Space Cadet 14:47, 20 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi, I'm not a historian or geographer, but "Danzig"'s status as a free city I got from Safranski's biography of Schopenhauer. See, e.g., p. 18: "What Heinrich Floris Schopenhauer had feared for a long time, and what had made him explore the possibility of moving to England, actually occurred in the spring of 1793: Prussia and Russia agreed on further annexations of Polish sovereign territory. The cities of Danzig and Thorn (Polish Torun), until then free cities under Polish protection, were adjudicated to the King of Prussia."
Or p. 8: "Until as recently as the seventeenth century 60 per cent of the Baltic trade went through the ancient Hanseatic city. Under Polish patronage, Danzig preserved its political independence. But as the Kingdom of Poland declined in the course of the eighteenth century, becoming the plaything of the competing power interests of the Habsburg empire, Russia and Prussia, Danzig's freedom increasingly came under threat. Other neighbours, admittedly, offered to be Danzig's protector, but Danzigers realized that this way lay not protection but extortion. Danzig was having to accustom itself to the idea that a proud trading city with a rich tradition had now itself become a trading object between the great European powers."
Beyond Safranski, Magee (The Philosophy of Schopenhauer) notes that when Gdansk/Danzig was invaded by Prussian troops, the Schopenhauers abandoned the city for good, and "settled, deliberately, in another free city and great Hanseatic seaport, Hamburg".
To be sure, neither of these are professional historians (Safranski is a philosopher and biographer, and although Magee studied history at Oxford, his professional life was in philosophy), but we have two secondary sources agreeing. 22:08, 20 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Can anyone refer to evidence to suggest that it was/was not a hanseatic free city and/or part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth at the time of S's birth? Anthony Krupp 21:29, 20 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
All I can do is provide an explanation, that many cities in Poland of the time had all kinds of privileges, making them different than others, Zamość being a perfect example. Gdańsk had a variety of privileges and official titles, nevertheless both administratively and politically belonged to Poland till 1793. Space Cadet 15:18, 21 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
How do you square this with Magee and Safranski both who assert that Danzig, while a Polish protectorate, nevertheless retained political independence - or at least autonomy - as a "free city"? 15:42, 21 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Excellent question. Are they both modern historians? Space Cadet 16:24, 21 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Read my post above. They're more philosophers than historians, but both are historians of philosophy (Safranski a noted biographer, and Magee read history at Oxford). Both agree that Danzig/Gdansk was a "free city" at the time of Schopenhauer's birth. Since you disagree with two secondary sources, we were hoping that perhaps you had specialist (i.e. professional historians') evidence to the contrary - but you haven't provided it. 16:38, 21 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I read the post, but those philosophers seem to be using pre WW1 historiography (Danzig, Elbing, Allenstein, Thorn etc. not being Polish cities, but independent "city republics") in other words Prussian propaganda. Britannica 2007 clearly states that Gdańsk was a Polish city till 1793. Space Cadet 16:50, 21 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks. Unfortunately I don't have access to Britannica so I'll take your word for it. I did a search on Google Books though and found this: "After the first partition of Poland in 1772 it became a free city, but it was occupied by Prussia as a result of a second partition in 1793. Its status as a free city was restored by Napoleon in 1807." (Edmund Jan Osmanczyk, Encyclopedia of the United Nations and International Agreements.) The writer is Polish and does not appear to be using "Prussian propaganda". So that's three secondary sources to one (Britannica). 17:35, 21 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Good point. Let me remove the "Poland" again and get back to you on Monday, when the Library is open. Space Cadet 17:54, 21 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If I remember correctly Danzig was a free city only twice in history: during Napoleon's time and between the World Wars.Space Cadet 16:35, 21 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Been to the Library. This is funny. And sad. 2007 Britannica says that Schopenhauer was born in Danzig, Prussia. It also says that Aleksander Fredro died in 1876 in Lwów, Poland, when we all know, that in 1876 there was no Poland and the city was officially known as Lemberg. Now as far as Gdańsk, it says: "In 1772 Gdańsk was seized by Prussia, resulting in a rapid dissolution of port trade; and in 1793 it was incorporated as part of Prussia. Napoleon I granted it the privileges of a free city in 1807 (...)" and further: "From 1919 to 1939, it again had the status of a free city, under the Treaty of Versailles(...)". Don't know what you guys propose, but I think it's safe to remove "free Hanseatic city" from the article. Please investigate on your own. It would be interesting to know what the German and Polish encyclopedias say about the subject. Space Cadet 19:19, 22 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It would be interesting to know what the German and Polish encyclopedias say about the subject.
In their articles on Schopenhauer? Probably nothing, since it is completely irrelevant. — goethean 20:09, 22 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
How about their articles on Gdańsk/Danzig? Space Cadet 23:21, 22 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This discussion page should only be used for discussion of the Schopenhauer article. Discussion of Danzig/Gdansk is inappropriate to this talk page, is arguably spam and can be removed. — goethean 16:33, 23 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The only things that are completely irrelevant to this discussion are your pointless comments, which should be deleted. Space Cadet 17:50, 23 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wikipedia is a tertiary source. Here's a secondary one:

"... Arthur Schopenhauer was born on February 22, 1788 in Danzig [Gdansk, Poland] -- a city which had a long history in international trade as a member of the Hanseatic League. The Schopenhauer family was of Dutch heritage, and the philosopher's father, Heinrich Floris Schopenhauer (1747-1805), was a successful merchant who groomed his son to assume control of the family's business. A future in the international business trade was envisioned from the day Arthur was born, as reflected in how Schopenhauer's father carefully chose his son's first name on account of its identical spelling in German, French and English. When Schopenhauer was five years old, his family moved to Hamburg in March 1793, after the formerly free city of Danzig was annexed by Prussia." This from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Best, Anthony Krupp 11:49, 19 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Regarding the question re: Suzanne Langer see Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy [3] entry: "Among philosophers, one can cite Henri Bergson, Eduard von Hartmann, Suzanne Langer, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Hans Vaihinger, who tended to focus on selected aspects of Schopenhauer's philosophy, such as his views on the meaning of life, his theory of the non-rational will, his theory of music, or his Kantianism." Alcmaeonid 13:25, 20 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi, thanks. I was aware of the SEP entry on Langer and Schopenhauer - I seem to remember Magee contradicting this but I probably misread/misremembered what he said. I looked up Langer again and she does indeed mention Schopenhauer in Philosophy in a New Key- twice. 21:29, 20 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In the Influenced section, someone has edited in a bit about John N. Gray's book Straw Dogs, in what looks like an attempt at marketing in what is otherwise a pretty good bio page. The links point to the wrong John Gray and the wrong Straw Dogs. Even if John N. Gray were notable enough to belong in that section, surely he hasn't earned a breakout paragraph. Jack Fool —Preceding comment was added at 08:37, 21 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree and have moved his name up into the list and the corrected info down into a footnote. - Alcmaeonid 16:43, 30 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I added George Santayana to the list of notable authors influenced, based off Irving Singer's "George Santayana: Literary Philosopher", which states very clearly Schopenhauer's massive effect upon Santayana. --M.Callaghan 17:14, 19 Nov 2007 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Schopenhauer gave ontological primacy to desire (or Will) over intellect. David Hume, it is to be remembered, asserted as much before Schopenhauer. Also, Schopenhauer most probably was familiar with Hume's works, as Hume gained considerable celebrity on the Continent after his death. I would very much like to discuss the possibility of placing Hume as being an "influence" in Schopenhauer's thought. We must remember, too, that via Kant Schopenhauer would have been influenced by Hume as well. The noble soul has reverence for itself 23:49, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

"I think you should consult his "History of Philosophy" essay in the "Parerga" and draw your conclusions from that. In his "Autobiography" Brian Magee argues that Hume was a big influence on Schopenhauer in terms of clarity of expression. See the chapter "The Philosophy of Schopenhauer" Alan Page unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:02, 10 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]