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date: 24 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Schopenhauer acknowledges that there is more to erotic desire than egoism, and he is anxious to distinguish it from generalized appetite. Ultimately, however, we find him paying lip service to the beloved’s “irreplaceability” only to put forward views that are ultimately in tension with it. His conception of agape is likewise problematic, and it is here that the question of asceticism comes to the fore. In what sense, if any, does asceticism involve life-denial or self-denial? What is its relation to agape? And are there any reasons why the genuine lover must pursue this path? This chapter concludes that there are such reasons, but that they can be properly articulated only within a framework that takes us beyond Schopenhauer’s official position. Schopenhauer’s relation to theism remains unclear, but the chapter shall have scotched any suggestion of an uncompromising atheism.

Keywords: erotic desire, appetite, egoism, agape, asceticism, theism, atheism

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