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  1. Worse than the best possible pessimism? Olga Plümacher's critique of Schopenhauer.Christopher Janaway - forthcoming - Tandf: British Journal for the History of Philosophy:1-20.
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  2. Must Pessimists Be Suicidal?Joshua Shaw - forthcoming - Journal of Value Inquiry:1-17.
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  3. Schopenhauer, Suicide, and Contemporary Pessimism.Michael Cholbi - 2022 - In Patrick Hassan (ed.), Schopenhauer’s Moral Philosophy. Routledge.
    Among contemporary philosophers, David Benatar espouses a form of pessimism most closely aligned with Schopenhauer’s. Both maintain that human existence is a misfortune, such that each of us would have been better off having never existed at all. Here my concerns are twofold: First, I investigate why, despite these similarities, Schopenhauer and Benatar arrive at divergent positions regarding suicide. For whereas Benatar concludes that suicide is sometimes a moral wrong to others but is prudentially rational in a wider array of (...)
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  4. The Shaken Realist: Bernard Williams, the War, and Philosophy as Cultural Critique.Nikhil Krishnan & Matthieu Queloz - 2022 - European Journal of Philosophy.
    Bernard Williams thought that philosophy should address real human concerns felt beyond academic philosophy. But what wider concerns are addressed by Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy, a book he introduces as being ‘principally about how things are in moral philosophy’? In this article, we argue that Williams responded to the concerns of his day indirectly, refraining from explicitly claiming wider cultural relevance, but hinting at it in the pair of epigraphs that opens the main text. This was Williams’s solution (...)
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  5. La filosofía de la redención. [REVIEW]Ignacio L. Moya - 2022 - Prometeica - Revista De Filosofía Y Ciencias 24:243-245.
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  6. Pessimism, Political Critique, and the Contingently Bad Life.Patrick O'Donnell - 2022 - Journal of Philosophy of Life 12 (1):77-100.
    It is widely believed that philosophical pessimism is committed to fatalism about the sufferings that characterize the human condition, and that it encourages resignation and withdrawal from the political realm in response. This paper offers an explanation for and argument against this perception by distinguishing two functions that pessimism can serve. Pessimism’s skeptical mode suggests that fundamental cross-cultural constraints on the human condition bar us from the good life (however defined). These constraints are often represented as immune to political amelioration, (...)
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  7. The Value of the World and of Oneself: Philosophical Optimism and Pessimism From Aristotle to Modernity.Mor Segev - 2022 - Oxford University Press.
    "This book examines the longstanding debate between philosophical optimism and pessimism in the history of philosophy, focusing on Aristotle, Maimonides, Spinoza, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Camus. Philosophical optimists maintain that the world is optimally arranged and is accordingly valuable, and that the existence of human beings is preferable over their nonexistence. Philosophical pessimists, by contrast, hold that the world is in a woeful condition and ultimately valueless, and that human nonexistence would have been preferable over our existence. Schopenhauer criticizes the optimism (...)
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  8. Individual vs. World in Schopenhauer's Pessimism.Patrick Hassan - 2021 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 59 (2):122-152.
    This article aims to elucidate and explore the significance of a distinction in Schopenhauer's pessimism which has not yet received detailed attention in the secondary literature. Schopenhauer is well known to have argued for the thesis that the fundamental feature of sentient life is pervasive suffering, and on these grounds held that individual lives are not worth living. However, he similarly claims with frequency that the nonexistence of the world “as a whole” is preferable to its existence. This is a (...)
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  9. Striving as Suffering: Schopenhauer’s A Priori Argument for Pessimism.Patrick Hassan - 2021 - Philosophia 49 (4):1487-1505.
    This paper aims to clarify Schopenhauer’s a priori argument for pessimism and, to an extent, rescue it from standard objections in secondary literature. I argue that if we separate out the various strands of Schopenhauer’s pessimism, we hit upon problems and counterexamples stemming from psychology. For example, instances where striving does not appear to equate to suffering, which puts pressure on the Schopenhauerian claim that human life, qua instantiation of the will, is painful. Schopenhauer’s sensitivity to the complexities of human (...)
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  10. Worse than the best possible pessimism? Olga Plümacher's critique of Schopenhauer.Christopher Janaway - 2021 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 30 (2):211-230.
    Olga Plümacher published a book entitled Der Pessimismus in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart in 1884. It was an influential book: Nietzsche owned a copy, and there are clear cases where he b...
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  11. The Secular Problem of Evil: An Essay in Analytic Existentialism.Paul Prescott - 2021 - Religious Studies 57 (1):101-119.
    The existence of evil is often held to pose philosophical problems only for theists. I argue that the existence of evil gives rise to a philosophical problem which confronts theist and atheist alike. The problem is constituted by the following claims: (1) Successful human beings (i.e., those meeting their basic prudential interests) are committed to a good-enough world; (2) the actual world is not a good-enough world (i.e., sufficient evil exists). It follows that human beings must either (3a) maintain a (...)
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  12. A thousand pleasures are not worth a single pain: The compensation argument for Schopenhauer's pessimism.Byron Simmons - 2021 - European Journal of Philosophy 29 (1):120-136.
    Pessimism is, roughly, the view that life is not worth living. In chapter 46 of the second volume of The World as Will and Representation, Arthur Schopenhauer provides an oft-neglected argument for this view. The argument is that a life is worth living only if it does not contain any uncompensated evils; but since all our lives happen to contain such evils, none of them are worth living. The now standard interpretation of this argument (endorsed by Kuno Fischer and Christopher (...)
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  13. Dark Matters: Pessimism and the Problem of Suffering.Mara van der Lugt - 2021 - Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
    An intellectual history of the philosophers who grappled with the problem of evil, and the case for why pessimism still holds moral value for us today In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, philosophers engaged in heated debates on the question of how God could have allowed evil and suffering in a creation that is supposedly good. Dark Matters traces how the competing philosophical traditions of optimism and pessimism arose from early modern debates about the problem of evil, and makes a (...)
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  14. The pessimistic origin of Nietzsche’s thought of eternal recurrence.Scott Jenkins - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63 (1):20-41.
    ABSTRACTIn this article I argue that we should understand Nietzsche’s doctrine of eternal recurrence as the ideal of life affirmation opposed to philosophical pessimism, the view that life is not worth living. I first articulate Nietzsche’s psychological account of pessimism as a vengeful focus on the past and an aversion to time understood as transience. I then consider the question of why a person with the opposite psychological orientation – a creative relation to the future and an endorsement of time (...)
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  15. A Pragmatic Look at Schopenhauer’s Pessimism.Allison Parker - 2019 - Stance 12 (1):107-115.
    Schopenhauer’s pessimistic philosophy is a depressing read. He writes many pages about how suffering is the norm, and any happiness we feel is merely a temporary alleviation of suffering. Even so, his account of suffering rings true to many readers. What are we to do with our lives if Schopenhauer is right, and we are doomed to suffer? In this paper, I use William James’ pragmatic method to find practical implications of Schopenhauer’s pessimism. I provide a model for how we (...)
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  16. Pesimismo profundo.Ignacio L. Moya - 2018 - Santiago, Santiago Metropolitan Region, Chile: Libros de mentira.
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  17. Perpetual Struggle.Kathryn J. Norlock - 2018 - Hypatia 34 (1):6-19.
    Open Access: What if it doesn’t get better? Against more hopeful and optimistic views that it is not just ideal but possible to put an end to what John Rawls calls “the great evils of human history,” I aver that when it comes to evils caused by human beings, the situation is hopeless. We are better off with the heavy knowledge that evils recur than we are with idealizations of progress, perfection, and completeness; an appropriate ethic for living with such (...)
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  18. Schopenhauer: The World as Will and Representation: Volume 2.Arthur Schopenhauer, Alistair Welchman, Judith Norman & Christopher Janaway - 2018 - Cambridge University Press.
    The purpose of the Cambridge Edition of the Works of Schopenhauer is to offer translations of the best modern German editions of Schopenhauer's work in a uniform format for Schopenhauer scholars, together with philosophical introductions and full editorial apparatus. The World as Will and Representation contains Schopenhauer's entire philosophy, ranging through epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind and action, aesthetics and philosophy of art, to ethics, the meaning of life and the philosophy of religion. This second volume was added to the (...)
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  19. The Human Predicament: A Candid Guide to Life's Biggest Questions.David Benatar - 2017 - New York: Oup Usa.
    Are our lives meaningless? Is death bad? Would immortality be better? Alternatively, should we hasten our deaths by acts of suicide? Many people are tempted to offer comforting optimistic answers to these big questions. The Human Predicament offers a less sanguine assessment, and defends a substantial, but not unmitigated, pessimism.
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  20. Schopenhauer's Moral Pessimism: Origin, Meaning and Reach.Dax Moraes - 2017 - [email protected]: An International Journal for Moral Philosophy 16 (2):347–374.
    “Moral pessimism” is an expression by which one may understand Schopenhauer’s thesis about immutability of character so far as it declares impossible each and every kind of moral enhancement, remaining only attainable some behavior adaptation based on natural egoism. This is otherwise a kind of result of epistemological problems raised by Kantian critique of reason that Schopenhauer carried to its limits. On the other hand, “moral pessimism” is to be faced not as a “practical” problem, but as a metaphysical one (...)
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  21. The Kantian Foundation of Schopenhauer’s Pessimism.Dennis Vanden Auweele - 2017 - New York: Routledge.
    This book connects Schopenhauer’s philosophy with transcendental idealism by exploring the distinctly Kantian roots of his pessimism. By clearly discerning four types of coming to knowledge, it demonstrates how Schopenhauer’s epistemology can enlighten this connection with other areas of his philosophy. The individual chapters in this book discuss how these knowledge types—immediate or mediate, representational or non-representational—relate to Schopenhauer’s metaphysics, ethics and action, philosophy of religion, aesthetics, and asceticism. In each of these areas, a specific sense of pessimism serves to (...)
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  22. Weltschmerz: Pessimism in German Philosophy, 1860–1900.Frederick C. Beiser - 2016 - Oxford University Press UK.
    Weltschmerz is a study of the pessimism that dominated German philosophy in the second half of the nineteenth century. Pessimism was essentially the theory that life is not worth living, and was introduced into German philosophy by Schopenhauer. Frederick C. Beiser examines the intense and long controversy that arose from Schopenhauer's pessimism, which changed the agenda of philosophy in Germany away from the logic of the sciences and toward an examination of the value of life. He examines the major defenders (...)
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  23. Schopenhauer on religious pessimism.Dennis Vanden Auweele - 2015 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 78 (1):53-71.
    Schopenhauer’s bifurcation between optimistic and pessimistic religions is made, so I argue here, by means of five criteria: to perceive of existence as punishment, to believe that salvation is not attained through ‘works’, to preach compassion so as to lead towards ascetics, to manifest an aura of mystery around religious doctrines and to, at some deep level, admit to the allegorical nature of religious creeds. By clearly showing what makes up the ‘pessimism’ of a ‘pessimistic religion’, Schopenhauer’s own philosophical pessimism (...)
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  24. Schopenhauer: Parerga and Paralipomena: Volume 2: Short Philosophical Essays.Adrian Del Caro & Christopher Janaway (eds.) - 2015 - Cambridge University Press.
    With the publication of Parerga and Paralipomena in 1851, there finally came some measure of the fame that Schopenhauer thought was his due. Described by Schopenhauer himself as 'incomparably more popular than everything up till now', Parerga is a miscellany of essays addressing themes that complement his work The World as Will and Representation, along with more divergent, speculative pieces. It includes essays on method, logic, the intellect, Kant, pantheism, natural science, religion, education, and language. The present volume offers a (...)
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  25. Schopenhauer: Parerga and Paralipomena: Volume 1: Short Philosophical Essays.Sabine Roehr & Christopher Janaway (eds.) - 2014 - Cambridge University Press.
    With the publication of the Parerga and Paralipomena in 1851, there finally came some measure of the fame that Schopenhauer thought was his due. Described by Schopenhauer himself as 'incomparably more popular than everything up till now', the Parerga is a miscellany of essays addressing themes that complement his work The World as Will and Representation, along with more divergent, speculative pieces. It includes his 'Aphorisms on the Wisdom of Life', reflections on fate and clairvoyance, trenchant views on the philosophers (...)
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  26. Schopenhauer, Pessimism and Suicide.Dennis Vanden Auweele - 2014 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 76 (2):307-330.
    Schopenhauer’s argument against suicide is typically received negatively in the scholarly literature, insofar that it appears to be one of the numerous inconsistencies that haunt his philosophical system. Thus, after elaborating upon the unique characteristics of Schopenhauer’s argument against suicide, I will discuss the well-known objection to it. By offering a fresh outlook on Schopenhauer’s ethics, I will suggest a new way of appreciating Schopenhauer’s argument so as to rehabilitate his understanding of suicide within the framework of his pessimistic philosophy. (...)
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  27. On Pessimism: A Study in Normative Psychology.Paul Prescott - 2012 - Dissertation, Syracuse University
    I aim to revive pessimism as a topic of discussion in the Anglo-American philosophical tradition. Toward that end, I defend a theory of pessimism designed to (a) locate pessimism within the existing Anglo-American philosophical literature and (b) to account for the epistemic and prudential conditions under which pessimism can be warranted. I argue for three theses: (1) that pessimism is a stance premised on a belief that the bad prevails over the good; (2) that pessimism is not necessarily the product (...)
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  28. What Pessimism Is.Paul Prescott - 2012 - Journal of Philosophical Research 37:337-356.
    On the standard view, pessimism is a philosophically intractable topic. Against the standard view, I hold that pessimism is a stance, or compound of attitudes, commitments and intentions. This stance is marked by certain beliefs—first and foremost, that the bad prevails over the good—which are subject to an important qualifying condition: they are always about outcomes and states of affairs in which one is personally invested. This serves to distinguish pessimism from other views with which it is routinely conflated— including (...)
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  29. Cosmic Pessimism.Eugene Thacker - 2012 - Continent 2 (2):66-75.
    continent. 2.2 (2012): 66–75 ~*~ We’re Doomed. Pessimism is the night-side of thought, a melodrama of the futility of the brain, a poetry written in the graveyard of philosophy. Pessimism is a lyrical failure of philosophical thinking, each attempt at clear and coherent thought, sullen and submerged in the hidden joy of its own futility. The closest pessimism comes to philosophical argument is the droll and laconic “We’ll never make it,” or simply: “We’re doomed.” Every effort doomed to failure, every (...)
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  30. Forgivingness, pessimism, and environmental citizenship.Kathryn J. Norlock - 2010 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 23 (1-2):29-42.
    Our attitudes toward human culpability for environmental problems have moral and emotional import, influencing our basic capacities for believing cooperative action and environmental repair are even possible. In this paper, I suggest that having the virtue of forgivingness as a response to environmental harm is generally good for moral character, preserving us from morally risky varieties of pessimism and despair. I define forgivingness as a forward-looking disposition based on Robin Dillon’s conception of preservative forgiveness, a preparation to be deeply and (...)
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  31. Schopenhauer: 'The World as Will and Representation': Volume 1.Judith Norman, Alistair Welchman & Christopher Janaway (eds.) - 2010 - Cambridge University Press.
    First published in 1818, The World as Will and Representation contains Schopenhauer's entire philosophy, ranging through epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind and action, aesthetics and philosophy of art, to ethics, the meaning of life and the philosophy of religion, in an attempt to account for the world in all its significant aspects. It gives a unique and influential account of what is and is not of value in existence, the striving and pain of the human condition and the possibility of (...)
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  32. Revaluing Schopenhauer's Pessimism.Yu-Chang Yang - 2010 - Modern Philosophy 2:96-102 + 115.
    Schopenhauer's pessimism in the Western rationalist philosophy from the traditional to the modern Christian faith and doctrine of the will of the process of changing. In this sense, it is both traditional Western philosophy, the inevitable result of development, but also a departure from traditional Western philosophy of the product. New understanding and evaluation of Schopenhauer's pessimism for us today a correct understanding of the situation of human beings to overcome the current crisis faced by an important inspiration.
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  33. Pessimism: Philosophy, Ethic, Spirit.Joshua Foa Dienstag - 2009 - Princeton University Press.
    Pessimism claims an impressive following--from Rousseau, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche, to Freud, Camus, and Foucault. Yet "pessimist" remains a term of abuse--an accusation of a bad attitude--or the diagnosis of an unhappy psychological state. Pessimism is thought of as an exclusively negative stance that inevitably leads to resignation or despair. Even when pessimism looks like utter truth, we are told that it makes the worst of a bad situation. Bad for the individual, worse for the species--who would actually counsel pessimism? Joshua (...)
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  34. Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence.David Benatar - 2006 - New York ;Oxford University Press.
    Better Never to Have Been argues for a number of related, highly provocative, views: (1) Coming into existence is always a serious harm. (2) It is always wrong to have children. (3) It is wrong not to abort fetuses at the earlier stages of gestation. (4) It would be better if, as a result of there being no new people, humanity became extinct. These views may sound unbelievable--but anyone who reads Benatar will be obliged to take them seriously.
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  35. Better Than Both: The Case for Pessimism.Peter Heinegg - 2005 - Hamilton Books.
    This new work sees pessimism not as a kind of depressed moodiness or self-indulgent negativity, but as the inevitable result of any fair-minded survey of the world we actually live in.
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  36. Pessimism.George W. Harris - 2002 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 5 (3):271-286.
    The problem of pessimism is the secular analogue to the evidential problem of evil facing traditional theism. The traditional theist must argue two things: that the evidence shows that this is on balance a good world and that it is the best possible world. Though the secular optimist who advocates any form of secular moral theory need not argue that the current and future world will likely be the best possible world, she nonetheless must argue that were there a clean (...)
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  37. The pessimistic spirit.Joshua Foa Dienstag - 1999 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 25 (1):71-95.
    Pessimism today is poorly understood. Indeed, such is the disdain that pessimism engenders, that it often has difficulty being taken seriously as a theoretical position. Yet pessimism, which is distinct from skepticism and nihilism, has much to offer those who have discarded the Enlightenment's expectation of progress. Through an examination of Rousseau, Schopenhauer and Unamuno, this paper traces out some of the common themes of pessimistic thought. Pessimism, it is argued, is con-cerned with the burden of time and with the (...)
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  38. Schopenhauer's Pessimism.Christopher Janaway - 1999 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 44:47-63.
    This series of lectures was originally scheduled to include a talk on Schopenhauer by Patrick Gardiner. Sadly, Patrick died during the summer, and I was asked to stand in. Patrick must, I am sure, have been glad to see this series of talks on German Philosophy being put on by the Royal Institute, and he, probably more than anyone on the list, deserves to have been a part of it. Patrick Gardiner taught and wrote with unfailing integrity and quiet refinement (...)
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  39. Optimism and Pessimism.Stewart R. Sutherland - 1981 - Religious Studies 17 (4):537 - 548.
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  40. Morality and Pessimism.Stuart Hampshire - 1972 - London: Cambridge University Press.
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  41. Historical Pessimism in the French Enlightenment.Henry Vyverberg - 1958 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
  42. Arthur Schopenhauer. Philosopher of Pessimism.Frederick Copleston - 1948 - Philosophy 23 (87):373-374.
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  43. The Bases of Philosophic Pessimism.E. F. Mitchell - 1930 - International Journal of Ethics 41:480.
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  44. spects of Pessimism. [REVIEW]R. M. Wenley - 1894 - Ancient Philosophy (Misc) 5:145.
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  45. Studies in Pessimism;.Arthur Schopenhauer - 1893 - St. Clair Shores, Mich., Scholarly Press.
    On the sufferings of the world.--On the vanity of existence.--On suicide.--Immortality; a dialogue.--Further psychological observations.--On education.--On women.--On noise.--A few parables.
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  46. Pessimism.O. Plumacher - 1879 - Mind 4 (13):68-89.
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  47. Philosophical Pessimism: A Study In The Philosophy Of Arthur Schopenhauer.Cameron Smith - unknown
    Schopenhauer argues, strikingly, that it would have been better if life had not come into existence. In this essay I consider this pessimistic judgment from a philosophical perspective. I take on the following three tasks. First, I consider whether such judgments, apparently products of temperament rather than reason, can be the subject of productive philosophical analysis. I argue that they can be, since, importantly, we can separate arguments for such judgments that establish them as plausible from those that do not. (...)
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  48. Schopenhauer’s pessimism.David Woods - unknown
    In this thesis I offer an interpretation of Arthur Schopenhauer’s pessimism. I argue against interpreting Schopenhauer’s pessimism as if it were merely a matter of temperament, and I resist the urge to find a single standard argument for pessimism in Schopenhauer’s work. Instead, I treat Schopenhauer’s pessimism as inherently variegated, composed of several distinct but interrelated pessimistic positions, each of which is supported by its own argument. I begin by examining Schopenhauer’s famous argument that willing necessitates suffering, which I defend (...)
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