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Schopenhauer (The Great Philosophers Series) 1st Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0415923972
ISBN-10: 0415923972
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Once in a while, a publication comes along that on first sight seems oddly out of place but on second viewing is admirably suited to its purpose. This little series of biographical summaries of the thoughts of 24 Western philosophers from Democritus to Derrida is admirable not only for its reasonable price but even more for the intelligence and clarity of the writing. Each volume has been prepared by an expert in the subject, and the result is a series of well-drawn and exceptionally useful pocket-size (4.5 x 7 inches) sketches of major figures in the history of Western thought. The level is such that no special background in philosophy is required to understand the concepts discussed. Each volume also contains a short bibliography, some of which refer to electronic journals or web sites. Most of the individuals chosen for the series come as no surprise, e.g., Descartes, Hegel, Kant, Nietzsche, Locke, Hume, Plato, and Socrates. But there are a few unexpected choices, like Alan Turing and Karl PopperAalthough on further consideration, they make more sense. Turing's influence on mathematics and on the development of computers has long been recognized, but his 1936 paper "On Compatible Numbers," which appeared in the Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society in 1936-37, influenced studies in the philosophy of mind. Popper's development of the concept of "historicism" in such works as The Open Society and Its Enemies and The Poverty of Historicism significantly influenced 20th-century political thought. Ultimately, this set should be in every academic and public library as well as many school libraries.ATerry C. Skeats, Bishop's Univ. Lib., Lennoxville, Quebec
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 60 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (July 16, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415923972
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415923972
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 4.3 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,537,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
I love this book! The author really gives a clear understanding of Schopenhauer. I've tried to read and understand S. for a few years, and always left frustrated. I don't have the time to engage in a thorough analysis of this deep thinker. But Mr. Tanner gives a graet summary, with well chosen quotes to give an introductory overview of his thinking. I've read a lot of Nietzche, and I always viewed S. as "pre-Nietzche". But, i'm drawn more and more to the conclusions that S. presents. He sticks with what he observes, and doesn't add his own thoughts on how things should be. The author helps you understand S.'s magnum opus "The World as Will and Representation" very clearly.
Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
Michael Tanner in Schopenhauer introduces the philosopher's idea for readers who may want to read The World as Will and Representation.

Like Kant, Schopenhauer believes that through our senses we can only experience the representation of the world, in Kant's words, the phenomenal world. But he departs from Kant in his concept of will and willing. For him, willing is the root of all suffering. We seek to satisfy our needs, but once they are met, we become disillusioned and seek to satisfy greater needs and the process never stops. The most common example is that we eat to satisfy our hunger, but having eaten we would feel hungry again. For Schopenhauer this never ending striving and the swing between hope and disillusionment create suffering. His ideas has influenced thinkers like Thomas Mann whose novel The Magic Mountain reflects that search and striving and the resulting suffering and disillusionment.

For Schopenhauer, the Will, as the summation of individual wills, is a unified cosmic principle under all representations, a mindless urging toward no definite end. And such an idea had influenced thinkers like Hartshorne and Whitehead.

But Schopenhauer not only influenced thinkers, but even more so, artists and perhaps musicians. The ideas of ceaseless striving and the cycle of hope and despair appears to lend expressions to the various arts.

However, as Michaal Tanner points out, Schopenhauer's thought process is not as rigorous as philosophers like Kant and at times, the philosopher makes claims without leading the reader through the logical links.

I recommend this book for readers interested in surveying Schopenhauer's ideas before diving into The World as Will and Representation.
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Format: Paperback
Those searching for a bleak view of humanity should look no further than Arthur Schopenhauer. His conception of "the Will" as a purposeless, Sisyphean automaton that never satiates its depthless desires stands as one of Western thought's most life-negating metaphysical posits. A Herculean challenge to peppy optimists, Schopenhauer's philosophy outlines some of life's most miserable, yet undeniable, characteristics. This tiny book provides a good overview of the ups and downs, origins, and influences of Western philosophy's grim reaper (he even looks grim in photos).

The easily digestible essay carries the subtitle "Metaphysics and Art." That serves as the most concise summary possible of the subsequent 54 pages. Michael Tanner, who has also written introductory books on both Wagner and Nietzsche, begins with the origins of Schopenhauer's metaphysics in Kant. Those unfamiliar with the classic story of Hume's skepticism leading to the grand Kantian Transcendentalist program might have to re-read a few sentences here and there, but overall the discussion remains accessible. Schopenhauer's idea of "representation" derives from Kant's bifurcation of phenomenon (the physical world as we perceive it) and noumenon (the world as it is in itself, inaccessible to us) in "The Critique of Pure Reason." In essence, he disagrees with Kant's dichotomy and instead suggests that we can know the world as it is through "the Will." In a very Buddhist and Vedantic manner, Schopenhauer says that we are all a part of a unity, a "Primal One," and thus humanity harbors an illusion of individuality. This mirage, called the "Principle of Individuation" or "principium individuationis," lies at the heart of our unquenchable desires.
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Despite the lack of a bibliolography, this brief book explores Schopenhauer's main thoughts on Will and Aesthetics. The writing is crisp and easily understood. The many quotations from the philosopher's main work are clear, inspiring me to read Schopenhauer directly.

Dr. Tanner introduces Shopenhauer by way of Kant, and in my opinion gives a clear and relevant account. He contrasts Schopenhauer with Nietzsche, who first adopted his predecessor's thoughts, but who later overcame the apparent pessimism of Schopenhauer with his own Uebermensch.
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For anyone who still thinks of philosophy as a loose collection of schools of thought or method headed by major thinkers, as Randall Collins roughly pictured in 1098 pages in THE SOCIOLOGY OF PHILOSOPHIES / A GLOBAL THEORY OF INTELLECTUAL CHANGE, then the major thinkers Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche had differing degrees of success, as Kant and Hegel have far more lines in the index of the Randall Collins book than Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. Nietzsche expressed a contrary view, possibly more ancient than modern, which applied far more accurately to the pre-Platonic Greeks, that there is no philosophy, only philosophers. For those whose idea of meaning depends mainly on context, Schopenhauer must now be evaluated primarily in what he was able to learn from Kant, how he reacted to his contemporary Hegel, and whether he deserved the repudiation which Nietzsche eventually expressed as a sign of triumph over the denial of will lying in the heart of Schopenhauer's philosophy. I have the big major volumes of Schopenhauer's philosophy, but I was hoping to find more when I checked the shelf in a used book store and found something tiny by Michael Tanner called SCHOPENHAUER / Metaphysics and Art (1997, 1999).

There is too much of Schopenhauer's work to expect a short explanation of all of it. He wrote at such great length on so many topics that the 54 pages of Michael Tanner's book would only be valuable as a summary of a particular aspect that is important for distinguishing Schopenhauer from the other thinkers with which he has become inextricably entwined in the minds of readers whose approach to philosophy has not been as systematic as the great books approach.
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