Download Schopenhauer (Key Texts) by Patrick Gardiner PDF

By Patrick Gardiner

Evaluates the most positive aspects of Schopenhauer's idea, its ancient value, and its relation to trendy philosophical preoccupations.

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He had argued, in other words, that it was impossible to establish any positive conclusions concerning what lay beyond all possible experience, and hence that every claim to knowledge of the nature of non-empirical reality will necessarily be without foundation, empty. Moreover, it is important to recognize that Kant was not saying that such restrictions on what we are in a position to know are due to certain practical or technical limitations which under other conceivable conditions might not obtain, like our (present) inability to tell whether there is life on Mars; he was ruling, rather, that it is impossible in principle that we should acquire knowledge of the kind in question.

A certain perplexity, from which he seeks to free himself . . ' Schopenhauer was not alone in characterizing the metaphysical frame of mind as being essentially one of original perplexity or (as he refers to it elsewhere) wonder; wonder 'concerning the world and our own existence, inasmuch as these press upon the intellect as a riddle, the solution of which therefore occupies mankind without intermission' (II, p. 372). To be impressed by the fact that things are as they are and not otherwise, to find it strange or marvellous that there should be anything at all: this, Schopenhauer and others have wished to insist, is the mark of a certain type of outlook, a certain type of temperament, not shared by all; and for one unable to understand or enter into such an attitude, for whom ' the world and existence appear as a matter of course', the theories and doctrines propounded by metaphysicians would seem, not merely unintelligible in themselves, but without ground, without reason; the metaphysical quest itself would seem an enigma, and he could only view with indifference attempts to solve what to him must appear as non-existent problems and difficulties.

All that need be LIFE AND INTRODUCTION 2O. stressed here is that Schopenhauer undoubtedly believed that he - almost alone among philosophers in early nineteenthcentury Germany - had had the courage and integrity to subscribe to the high ideal he laid down; he had pursued his work in an open-minded and unprejudiced manner and without fearing lest what he wrote, through its lack of conformity with prevailing beliefs and ' respectable' academic opinion, should militate against his chances of professional advancement and success.

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