In Patrick Hassan (ed.), Schopenhauer’s Moral Philosophy. Routledge (2022)

Michael Cholbi
University of Edinburgh
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 circumstances than we ordinarily expect, Schopenhauer largely sets aside questions of both interpersonal morality and prudence to argue that suicide is self-contradictory or futile because it does not undermine the metaphysical facts concerning the place of will in human life, facts ultimately responsible for our unfortunate condition. Second, I consider Schopenhauer’s attempt to show that suicide is a mistaken response to human suffering. Under any of several plausible interpretations of Schopenhauer’s argument that suicide is a futile exercise, his reasoning is unconvincing. Drawing upon Schopenhauer’s admiration for ‘ascetic’ suicide, I then propose an alternative expressive route for Schopenhauer: that suicide is usually mistaken because it fails to manifest integrity in light of the unfortunate truth about the human condition.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,593
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Schopenhauer, Pessimism and Suicide.Dennis Vanden Auweele - 2014 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 76 (2):307-330.
Schopenhauer on Suicide and Negation of the Will.Michal Masny - 2020 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 29 (3):494-516.
Studies in Pessimism;.Arthur Schopenhauer - 1893 - St. Clair Shores, Mich., Scholarly Press.
Schopenhauer on Religious Pessimism.Dennis Vanden Auweele - 2015 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 78 (1):53-71.
Revaluing Schopenhauer's Pessimism.Yu-Chang Yang - 2010 - Modern Philosophy 2:96-102 + 115.
Schopenhauer's Moral Pessimism: Origin, Meaning and Reach.Dax Moraes - 2017 - [email protected]: An International Journal for Moral Philosophy 16 (2):347-374.
Nietzsche’s Failed Engagement with Schopenhauer’s Pessimism: An Analysis.Guy Elgat - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-25.
Schopenhauer on Action and the Will.D. W. Hamlyn - 1982 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures 13:127-140.


Added to PP index

Total views
14 ( #716,592 of 2,462,048 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
14 ( #53,040 of 2,462,048 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes