The World as Will and Idea – Arthur Schopenhauer
Download The World as Will and Idea ebook. The World as Will and Representation (WWR; German: Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung, WWV) is the central work of the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. The first edition was published in 1818/19, the second expanded edition in 1844, and the third expanded edition in 1859. In 1948, an abridged version was edited by Thomas Mann.
In the English language, this work is known under three different titles. Although English publications about Schopenhauer played a role in the recognition[who?] of his fame[who?] as a philosopher in later life (1851 until his death in 1860) and a three volume translation by R. B. Haldane and J. Kemp, titled The World as Will and Idea, appeared already in 1883–1886, the first English translation of the expanded edition of this work under this title The World as Will and Representation appeared by E. F. J. Payne (who also translated several other works of Schopenhauer) as late as in 1958 (paperback editions in 1966 and 1969). A later English translation by Richard E. Aquila in collaboration with David Carus is titled The World as Will and Presentation (2008).
Present day translator Richard Aquila argues that the reader will not grasp the details of the philosophy of Schopenhauer properly without this new title: “The World as Will and Presentation”. According to him, “Idea”, “Representation”, and “Presentation” are all acceptable renderings of the word Vorstellung, but it is the notion of a performance or a theatrical presentation that is key in his interpretation. The world that we perceive is a “presentation” of objects in the theatre of our own mind; the observers, the “subject”, each craft the show with their own stage managers, stagehands, sets, lighting, code of dress, pay scale, etc. The other aspect of the world, the Will, or “thing in itself”, which is not perceivable as a presentation, exists outside time, space, and causality. Aquila claims to make these distinctions as linguistically precise as possible.
Relationship to earlier philosophical work
The main body of the work states at the beginning that it assumes prior knowledge of Immanuel Kant’s theories, and Schopenhauer is regarded by some as remaining more faithful to Kant’s metaphysical system of transcendental idealism than any of the other later German Idealists. However, the book contains an appendix entitled critique of the Kantian philosophy, in which Schopenhauer rejects most of Kant’s ethics and significant parts of his epistemology and aesthetics. Schopenhauer demands that the introduction be read before the book itself, although it is not fully contained in this book but appeared earlier under the title On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason. He also states in his introduction that the reader will be at his best prepared to understand his theories if he has lingered in the school of Plato or he is already familiar with Indian philosophy.
Schopenhauer believed that Kant had ignored inner experience, as intuited through the will, which was the most important form of experience. Schopenhauer saw the human will as our one window to the world behind the representation; the Kantian thing-in-itself. He believed, therefore, that we could gain knowledge about the thing-in-itself, something Kant said was impossible, since the rest of the relationship between representation and thing-in-itself could be understood by analogy to the relationship between human will and human body. According to Schopenhauer, the entire world is the representation of a single Will, of which our individual wills are phenomena. In this way, Schopenhauer’s metaphysics go beyond the limits that Kant had set, but do not go so far as the rationalist system-builders who preceded Kant. Other important differences are Schopenhauer’s rejection of eleven of Kant’s twelve categories, arguing that only causality was important. Matter and causality were both seen as a union of time and space and thus being equal to each other.
Schopenhauer frequently acknowledges drawing on Plato in the development of his theories and, particularly in the context of aesthetics, speaks of the Platonic forms as existing on an intermediate ontological level between the representation and the Will.
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Arthur Schopenhauer (/ˈʃoʊpənˌhaʊ.ər/; German: [ˈaɐ̯tʊɐ̯ ˈʃoːpm̩ˌhaʊ̯ɐ]; 22 February 1788 – 21 September 1860) was a German philosopher. He is best known for his 1818 work The World as Will and Representation (expanded in 1844), wherein he characterizes the phenomenal world as the product of a blind and insatiable metaphysical will. Proceeding from the transcendental idealism of Immanuel Kant, Schopenhauer developed an atheistic metaphysical and ethical system that has been described as an exemplary manifestation of philosophical pessimism, rejecting the contemporaneous post-Kantian philosophies of German idealism. Schopenhauer was among the first thinkers in Western philosophy to share and affirm significant tenets of Eastern philosophy (e.g., asceticism, the world-as-appearance), having initially arrived at similar conclusions as the result of his own philosophical work.
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