Schopenhauer’s Interpretation of the Platonic Ideas

International Journal of the Platonic Tradition 14 (2):153-175 (2020)
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Abstract

A contentious feature in the thought of Arthur Schopenhauer is his account of the Platonic Ideas. This is no doubt evidenced by the scholarly literature where various difficulties have been identified in regards to this introduction, and often varying positions maintained. Within this essay, I offer a survey of the major debates surrounding this issue. Following this, I turn to a specific question related to Schopenhauer’s claim that his own account of the Platonic Ideas is authentic to the original views of Plato himself. I show that, excepting minor points of similarity, Schopenhauer’s account is quite inauthentic to that of Plato. Still more, drawing upon his distinction between abstract and intuitive knowledge, I offer an interpretation of the relationship between Genius and contemplation employing the concept of a “circle of signification”. Finally, I identify some difficulties in relation to Schopenhauer’s views.

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Jason Costanzo
Conception Seminary College

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