Schopenhauer: The Human Character

Schopenhauer: The Human Character by John E. Atwell

Title: Schopenhauer: The Human Character
Author: John E. Atwell
ISBN10: 0877227489
ISBN13: 978-0877227489
Publisher: Temple Univ Pr; First Edition edition (December 1, 1990)
Language: English
Subcategory: Philosophy
Size PDF: 1685 kb
Size Fb2: 1877 kb
Rating: 3.7/5
Votes: 514
Pages: 240 pages
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Schopenhauer: The Human Character by John E. Atwell


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This work places Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) in the mainstream of current philosophy by examining his conception of human agency and responsibility, his unique ethics of the morally virtuous character, and his assessment of life as fundamentally suffering. These notions are analyzed in terms of the cornerstone of Schopenhauer's philosophy, the will-body identity theses. John E. Atwell thus focuses on Schopenhauer's contention that the human will and the human body, being one and the same, cannot have a cause and effect relationship with each other.He examines the philosopher's notion of human character that follows from this thesis and brings Schopenhauer into a dialogue with current philosophers concerned with the nature of human agency, the recent emphasis on 'virtue ethics', and, in effect, what, if anything, makes human life bearable. Particularly significant, observes Atwell, are Schopenhauer's attempt to delineate the relationship between doers and their deeds, his vigorous attack on Kant's rationalistic ethics as clearing the way for his own ethics of compassion, and his doctrine of pessimism generated by the suffering essential to the natural human condition.In putting forth a sort of 'virtue ethics', Schopenhauer argues that the key element of ethics is what a person is rather than what a person does. Atwell's central argument is that Schopenhauer uses the will-body identity thesis as the key to his metaphysics ('reality is will') but he tends to abandon that thesis in his acknowledgment of three important aspects of human experience repentance, compassion, and salvation. This fact raises the question of the importance, and indeed possibility, of consistency within a comprehensive philosophical scheme. Author note: John E. Atwell is Professor of Philosophy at Temple University and the author of "Ends and Principles in Kant's Moral Thought".