Schopenhauer on Salvation and the Highest Good

Came, Daniel (2011) Schopenhauer on Salvation and the Highest Good. In: Idealismus und natürliche Theologie. Verlag Karl Alber. ISBN 978-3-495-48458-6

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Schopenhauer on Salvation and the Highest Good

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The concept of salvation for Schopenhauer is standardly interpreted as a condition of complete and permanent non-being, a state of total annihilation not only of the self but of one’s entire being. This understanding of his concept of salvation contributes to the received view of Schopenhauer as articulating a philosophy of nihilism and ultimate despair. Christopher Janaway, for example, claims that Schopenhauer’s final assessment on the value of human existence resides in two connected theses: “that for each individual it would have been better never to have been born, and that the world as a whole is the worst of all possible worlds”. I shall seek to challenge the received view by offering an “optimistic” interpretation of his concept of salvation in terms of a condition which becomes accessible to us only by detaching ourselves from the world – a “peace that is higher than all reason”. Schopenhauer’s philosophy, in other words, ends in the mystical and thus in hope rather than despair. Relatedly, I shall argue that ordinary embodied human existence derives positive value for Schopenhauer in virtue of its being a necessary precondition of salvation. Hence the standard reading of Schopenhauer as claiming that non-existence is preferable to existence is also false.

Keywords:Schopenhauer, pessimism, salvation, highest good
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V500 Philosophy
Divisions:College of Arts
ID Code:30435
Deposited On:13 Sep 2018 14:12

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