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date: 30 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter provides a critical account of Schopenhauer’s philosophical system, with emphasis placed on the role played by German Idealism in its formation. What Schopenhauer presents as a direct extension of Kant’s philosophy is best understood as in the first instance a reaction against Fichte and Schelling, motivated at root by a repudiation of the optimistic world-view which their systems embody. The two fundamental moves in Schopenhauer’s construction of a counter-system comprise his reductive account of the principle of sufficient reason in The Fourfold Root, and his inversion of Fichte’s conception of the subject as consisting essentially in ‘drive’. The difficulties created by Schopenhauer’s severe contraction of reason for his substantial metaphysical claims do not, the chapter argues, have a clear solution, and the tension within system is reflected in the opposed directions taken in the post-Schopenhauerian development—Hartmann and Bahnsen pursuing Schopenhauer’s metaphysical project, and Nietzsche abjuring it.

Keywords: Fichte, German Idealism, Hartmann, Kant, Nietzsche, pessimism, principle of sufficient reason, Schelling, Schopenhauer, will

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