33 - Schopenhauer on Mind & Matter


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We discuss the metaphysical views of pessimist philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, as elaborated in his magnum opus, The World as Will and Representation. Schopenhauer developed a fascinating dual-aspect monism, according to which from outside, the world appears as representation, but from inside, it appears as will: ontological monism and epistemological dualism. To Schopenhauer, desire-driven will is what we are from inside, and he goes on to argue that we should think of the underlying reality of all appearance in the same way. You represent my will as a body, but I know that there’s an underlying reality to your representation that’s experiential in character. Schopenhauer thinks the basis of this dual-aspect character of reality pervades the natural world, organic and inorganic. Why? Because this is our only form of insight into—or acquaintance with—anything as a thing in itself.
“[O]n the path of objective knowledge, thus starting from the representation, we shall never get beyond the representation, i.e., the phenomenon. We shall therefore remain at the outside of things; we shall never be able to penetrate into their inner nature, and investigate what they are in themselves…So far, I agree with Kant. But … we ourselves are the thing-in-itself. Consequently, a way from within stands open to us to that real inner nature of things to which we cannot penetrate from without. It is, so to speak, a subterranean passage, a secret alliance, which, as if by treachery, places us all at once in the fortress that could not be taken by attack from without.”
- Schopenhauer
Idealism - Schopenhauer [Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy]

Arthur Schopenhauer [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy]
Transcripts available at emersongreenblog.wordpress.com
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