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date: 31 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Most commentators hold that Schopenhauer breaks with Kant’s transcendental idealism insofar as he identifies the thing-in-itself with “Will.” By contrast, in this chapter, the author argues that Schopenhauer’s system bears a complicated yet faithful relationship to Kant’s transcendental idealism. After examining an interesting, recent interpretation by Alistair Welchman that reads him in this transcendent way, the author argues for an alternative view: Schopenhauer’s identification of the thing-in-itself with “Will” should be understood as metonymic, and the metaphysics he offers should be understood as hermeneutic. In sum, he is not giving a transcendent metaphysical doctrine so much as an immanent “interpretation” of the inner meaning of the world—along the lines of an interpretation of the meaning of a work of art—and one that, by the lights of Schopenhauer’s own methodology, should stand or fall on the basis of how well it makes sense of the phenomena.

Keywords: Schopenhauer, Kant, transcendental idealism, metaphysics, thing-in-itself, hermeneutics, metonymy, methodology

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