Biography of Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

German philosopher who, through his tragic vision of the world and of man, becomes the first representative of the current vitalistic and subsequent irracionalistas.

Life and works

Born in a wealthy family of Danzig, Schopenhauer received his early education in his hometown and in Hamburg and also made numerous trips to complete their instruction. After the death of his father (perhaps due to a suicide) in 1805, he moved to Weimar with his mother, a prestigious writer, which introduced him to the literary circles of Wieland and Goethe. As he disliked the worldly life that her mother wore, it detained in solitude, and went on to complete his knowledge of Greek and Latin Classics and initiated the study of Eastern philosophies. In 1809, he enrolled in the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Göttingen, where he attended classes of skeptic Schulze. He then joined the Faculty of philosophy of the University of Berlin and there followed the courses of Schleiermacher and Fichte. In 1813 he graduated in philosophy in Jena, with his thesis on the quadruple root of the principle of sufficient reason (1816). He began as a professor in Berlin where intended to overshadow Hegel, in full glory; what they got was a resounding failure. After travelling for some time by various European countries, he returned back to classes. Again the low number of students, now joined the cholera epidemic, induced him to definitively leave the academic career. Thereafter he settled in Frankfurt, where he remained until his death. The personality of Schopenhauer presents symptoms of psychopathology (persecution mania, hiperestesis and megalomania).

His most important works are: the world as will and representation (1819), on the will of nature (1836), the fundamental problems in ethics (1841), aphorisms to the wisdom of life, and Parerga and Paralipomena (1851) people's court trials.

Philosophical thought

The world as representation

The world that surrounds us is simple subjective representation, simple phenomenon that we grasp through three forms of intuition: spatial, temporal and causal intuition. As the world representation, is subject to the principle of sufficient reason or "causality" (replacement of the categories of Kant). To this principle of sufficient reason, Schopenhauer supports four forms, according to four kinds of objects: 1. the principle of reason of becoming (cause-effect). 2 principle of the grounds of the meeting (premisas-conclusion). 3. principle of reason enough the be (every being has its raison d ' être) and 4. Principle of reason enough the work (for all action is possible to find a motivation).

The will

While the world is mere representation mia, pure phenomenon, can be apparent. The truly real is the noumenon consist, the "thing in itself" Kantian. For Schopenhauer the noumenon consist is not another thing that will, ultimate reality which comes from what exists, and everything tends to which. It of the absolute, Cosmic, will that is spread in everything gradually or according to different modalities: thus, the heat energy, inertia, gravity, etc., make up the objectification of the will of the physical bodies; in animals we have an objectification of higher rank (instinct, reflexes, stimuli, etc.); Finally, in the man you reach a higher objectification (aware will). Understood in this way the essence unified by the will, continues to the world, both as a whole and its components, aspires to more. Every being, in any degree in which it is located, is pushed to deploy its energia-voluntad. As a result, to say he is forced to invade the field of another. In other words, the world exemplifies the dissatisfaction felt incomplete, poor, unhappy. "This world is the worst of worlds," says Schopenhauer. And to prove it attaches in the male, which, in its eagerness to complete, is presented as the personification of misery. As if outside, at the end of all the pains would be death.

The release of the will: aesthetics

To this Assembly metaphysical pessimist corresponds, in Schopenhauer, a no less murky ethics. If the world is a sea of Sorrows, you are the man these alternatives: flee to the insulation through inhibition or agree to live in the midst of surrounding poverty. Seen the irreparable of determinism that tied it, soon you can expect of the second alternative. At most, to mitigate the pain itself and the others can go to compassion: Act to alleviate. In the first alternative the withdrawal may take three exits: suicide - to stop suffering-, - delivery to the office of science - sublimation, and the contemplation of art. Discarded suicide, Schopenhauer is left with two other possibilities. Dedication to art comforts the man of his misfortunes, placing it to one of the highest rainfall of will. Art, nature, whose beauty exceeds US approaches to the purity of the will. And within art, music occupies the place of honor (from here comes the admiration of Wagner by the philosophy of Schopenhauer). But still considered complete the search for solace in the abandonment of nirvana; fervent devotee of Eastern philosophy is manifested not in vain. But in this, it certainly does not give example with his life.

The wrenching vision of the world and the man offered Schopenhauer will have resonances in thinkers of the 19th and 20th centuries, as Nietzsche, while success it must, rather than the soundness of his doctrine, the carefree energy and his Agile style images.