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  1. Worse Than the Best Possible Pessimism? Olga Plümacher's Critique of Schopenhauer.Christopher Janaway - forthcoming - British Journal for the History of Philosophy:1-20.
    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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. The Human Predicament: A Candid Guide to Life's Biggest Questions.David Benatar - 2017 - 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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  11. 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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  12. The Kantian Foundation of Schopenhauer's Pessimism.Dennis Vanden Auweele - 2017 - 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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  13. 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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  14. 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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  15. 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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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. 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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  19. 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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  20. 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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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25. 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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  26. Optimism and Pessimism.Stewart R. Sutherland - 1981 - Religious Studies 17 (4):537 - 548.
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  27. Morality and Pessimism.Stuart Hampshire - 1972 - London: Cambridge University Press.
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  28. Spects of Pessimism. [REVIEW]R. M. Wenley - 1894 - Ancient Philosophy (Misc) 5:145.
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  29. 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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