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The World as Will and Presentation (Vol. 1) (Library of Primary Sources)

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4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  4,414 ratings  ·  76 reviews

Part of the Longman Library of Primary Sources in Philosophy,” this first volume of Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Presentation is framed by a pedagogical structure designed to make this important work of philosophy more accessible and meaningful for readers. A General Introduction includes the work's historical context, a discussion of historical influences, and bio

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Paperback, 752 pages
Published May 3rd 2007 by Longman (first published 1818)
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Mark Flores
Two years ago, while reading a philosophy textbook, I’ve learned that for German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz, our world is “the best of all possible worlds.” This is because God, who is good and omnipotent, chose to create our world of all the possible worlds. But contrary to that, the textbook pointed out, another German philosopher will say one hundred years later that our world is instead “the worst of all possible worlds.” I found that funny then, being young and innocent, and somewhat a b ...more
James
Schopenhauer's Philosophy is like the long winter months, an incubation period where all our doubts freeze over, giving way to a more primordial vision of things, as if the winter itself had become an unending reality, and not simply the necessary contrast that, as the inevitable thaw sets in, reminds us how glorious the summer sun is.
Tom Campbell
Jan 31, 2008 Tom Campbell rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in human nature.
Recommended to Tom by: An undergrad philosophy professor
It is fair to suggest that Schopenhauer recorded the first and still unsurpassed critigue of human nature. A hundred years ago, he was vastly influential. Joseph Conrad, Thomas Mann, Leo Tolstoy, Nietzsche and Freud had read him extensively. Today he is scarcely read because few modern thinkers realize the importance of his recorded thoughts. Schopenhauer maintained that we humans are at one with other animals in our inner-most essence. Some of us may think that we are separated as distinct indi ...more
John
I found this book to be very dated and limited by its Kantian/Platonic/Cartesian framework (e.g., causality, principal of sufficient reason, the subject/object distinction, etc.), which Nietszche and Heidegger later broke down. Also, I was already familiar on a summary level with his major ideas and didn't enjoy reading his detailed (and tedious in my opinion) arguments on how he arrived there. I think it might be interesting to critique his work from a modern viewpoint to add some interesting s ...more
Peter Mcloughlin
Schopenhauer is probably the best writers of German romanticism and post Kantian philosophy. Even in translation into English the text is not at all hard to follow unlike say Hegel or even Kant himself. He takes the idea of Kant's that we are not directly in touch with reality out there (the thing in itself) but the representations of itself. Schopenhauer calls this thing in itself of reality (Kant's Nuomena) the will and all of its many forms represented in our minds (Kant's Phenomena) as the w ...more
Zac
Mar 19, 2008 Zac rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who love philosophy
Shelves: philosophy
Schopenhauer rocks my world! This book blew me away. Its so good, I'm going to read it all again. Schopenhauer starts with Kantian notions of our limits of reason (that the in-itself of objects is unknown to us), mixes in some eastern philosophy, and finally tops it off with some platonic idealism. Unlike Kant, Schopenhauer thinks we have access to the "in-itself" of the world. This in-itself is the will, the blind striving behind everything.

The best parts of this volume, however, are when he co
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Prash
a book to be digested. in the preface the author "boasts" that he couldn't convey his solitary idea in fewer words. i was forever looking for a superfluous word or sentence while reading the book to point out . could find none so far. the style is beautiful and majestic. he is a seer. for example he repudiates the concept of an "ether" almost a century before it was actually disproved by the michelson-morley experiment. he also tells of the impossibility of a "theory of everything" to which we s ...more
Phil
To begin, I’ve never been a big fan of Kant. The way in which he subordinates thought to universals and imperatives has always come off as repugnant to me. Nevertheless his fundamental of the phenomenal and noumenal have struck me as just right. I could never really reconcile my aversion to him though. Schopenhauer’s critique of Kant, for this reason, I found as liberating. Schopenhauer does away with all that which I had found objectionable in such an elegant and compelling manner, his accusati ...more
John Doe
Schopenhauer is my favorite German philosopher. German philosophers are known for being "difficult" to read. But that is not so with Schopenhauer. He is, at times, rather long winded. But we forgive him for that because his prose and his arguments are so beautiful.

It has been awhile and I don't remember all of the details. I just remember really liking it, I wonder if it how it would hold up if I read it again.
Jesse
The thesis of Schopenhauer's doctoral dissertation concerned the four aspects, discovered by him, of which only two are very certain, the physical and the moral, of the principle of sufficient reason - nihil est sine ratione cur potius sit quam non sit. The general nature of this principle, and indeed its fundamental quality for all thought, renders it easy to misinterpret, so that grounds and consequences have been almost constantly confused in the history of philosophy with causes and effects, ...more
Scott Gates
As the young philosopher below concisely put it, you can think of Schop’s will as Kant’s noumena and his representation as Kant’s phenomena. Will and representation has analogues in Plato as well, the former being what is, the latter being what we see. So Schop places himself in the long line of canonical metaphysicians. As usual with philosophy, it’s okay if you miss one of his points because he’ll repeat the exact same idea at least fifteen more times (along with prolix, meandering examples). ...more
Phillip
This book is fascinating. It is like watching a train wreck that never ends.

Leave it to a man with an ego as large as the great outdoors to write a book about The Will being the fundamental object in creation.

In the process of developing his view he began by telling the reader not to bother reading his book if the reader is not prepared to read both volumes twice, along with his doctoral thesis, and the works of Kant and of Plato. That was the minimum reading list. He would also like for the re
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Nathaniel G
It's amazing to see a 19th century German philosopher so directly influenced by Vedanta Hindu philosophy, almost straight out of the Upanishads. There is a heavy pessimistic accent to the metaphysical system he expounds (which is very much a creation of his own), with a model very much influenced by Kant but replacing the noumenal realm with will and the phenomenal with "mere representation," but outside of that his ideas, especially on ethics, renunciation as the highest ethical position, and h ...more
InYourFaceNewYorker
Very tedious at the beginning (but I suppose that's simply the nature of philosophy)-- it took me five minutes to read each page-- but it gets much more interesting in the third and fourth parts, especially the fourth part. Like anything written this long ago, some of it is mental masturbation. However, it is still an interesting read and Schopenhauer's thoughts on death were fascinating. Some parts of this book foreshadow evolutionary psychology... and Schopenhauer lived before Darwin! I didn't ...more
Clint
Schopenauer kind of epitomizes my favorite kind of philospher, the guy who does what he does more out of a desire to know and understand than for anything else. Sure he's a crotchety old bastard who insults people he doesn't agree with, and his hero-worship of Kant is only acceptable because of the way he later flays the shit out of Kant's categories, but underneath everything like that there really seems to be an honest will to understand existence. There are some problems, I thought, such as s ...more
joycesu
I picked a bit at this, and I'll probably go back into it eventually to gain a better understanding on his critique of Kant. It's a pretty good read- he tends to be repetitive so skimming the tome is basically mandatory. I would not recommend it if you tend to get emotionally involved with your readings. He doesn't say too many kind things about the human race and tends to be rather pessimistic about life. To sum it all up- life is suffering, people all strive towards suffering, and the only way ...more
Thomas Chong
I have always been a fan of Kant and the post-Kantian German Idealists from the first time I read The Prolegomena. In this post-Kantian systemization, Schopenhauer explains that the will is what Kant refers to as the noumena. Good stuff
Andrew
I read a few Schopenhauer essays and aphorisms in college. I remember vaguely admiring them.

The World as Will and Representation is a different beast. A behemoth it took me two weeks to fight my way through, through his (inconsistent but interesting) epistemology, his (nowadays silly-seeming, but still interesting as a historical note) metaphysics, his (ever so romantic, but sadly dated) aesthetics, and his (little bitch) ethics. A challenging philosopher, a necessary bridge to Nietzsche, Heideg
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Muzaffer kotoz
أختلف معه في الكثير و الكثير ، لم أحب نبرة التكبر المبالغ فيها
لكن متى كانت هذه قياسات حكم على العظماء ، يكفيه عقله
David
I'll be dead before I finish this......... But, it puts one in a certain state of mind.......
Kimm
Sep 01, 2013 Kimm marked it as started-reading-but-put-on-hold  ·  review of another edition
Reading this out loud with Alex....we'll see how far we get...
Tarbuckle
Schopenhauer is certainly one of the the most pleasurable philosophic writers to read, and he combines his deep appreciation for Platonic and Kantian idealism to forge an interesting—though not, IMHO, metaphysically coherent—system of his own; not least in that his bedrock foundation—a timeless, extensionless, irrational will, the Ding-an-Sich with the Idea (manifest in such as Art) as its adequate objectivity, splintered into infinite mirrorings that we perceive as a subject/object-bifurcated r ...more
Dillon Floughton
AHHHHHHHHH, Schopenhauer is a genius! What incredible wit and explanation he gives to the convoluted and obscure investigations of metaphysics. He essentially touts monism, saying that all that we perceive and experience is but mere representation of the Will, the will being this monistic element that is present in all things. The most genius thing that he has done is that he does not refute any natural law, not any scientific advance of mankind in order to prove his point. The laws of nature in ...more
Marius
Mai ţineţi minte filmul The Matrix în care Morpheus îi oferă lui Neo şansa alegerii dintre adevăr şi iluzie? Ei bine, acelaşi lucru îl face şi Schopenhauer.

Mi-aş fi dorit să nu aleg pilula albastră a adevărului. Viaţa mea era mai simplă: „cel ce îşi înmulţeşte ştiinţa îşi sporeşte suferinţa” zice Ecleziastul.

Schopenhauer este un maestru al vorbelor: îţi modifică în aşa fel percepţia asupra realităţii(?) (îţi ridică de pe ochi vălul Mayei, al iluziei cum zice el) încât nu mai poţi fi inocent vreo
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Alex Obrigewitsch
Though I don't always agree with Schopenhauer(more usually than I do), one must admit the importance of this text as far as a so-called "History of Philosophy" is concerned.
If you enjoy philosophy or thinking, read this book.
Also, it is possibly the easiest philosophy book to read that I have yet come across. Schop didn;'t use language like a nail and hammer to get his ideas across to you.
Harry Doble
Some notes as I progress:

Book #1.

Wow, this is a slog. His writing is dense and unpacking a single paragraph is exhausting. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but I get the suspicion there are a few things I should probably be doing instead, like reading Kant, reading physics, reading neuroscience, reading criticism on idealism vs. realism. Most of what he is concerned with in the earliest parts of the first book is the unreliability of senses, the subject/object distinction and time/space/matt
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Hanan Kat
One of my absolute favorite books from Schopenhauer... Saddest day of my life was when I lost it when relocating to another city.
Paul Duggan
When I took my philosophy degree many years ago, I studied Schopenhauer through secondary sources. Now I know why.

Even though his philosophical insights are important as they form a basis of Existentialism and are heavily influenced bu Buddhism, reading this translation is a heavy slog.

I'll go back to the secondary sources, thank you.
Elise Ashby
Don't be put off by its formidable and miserable appearance, this book is certainly pessimistic, but in an engaging and at times hilarious way. As my lecturer said 'nothing gets Schopenhauer off more than complaining about the world!'. The book is saturated with his personality, which despite some casual sexism and anti-semitism, is overall strangely likable. I didn't agree with everything he had to say (I'm not sure anyone does), but this book is full of insight, to the point where at times it ...more
Todd
This is one of the first texts I read after making the decision to major in philosophy. In his personal life Schopenhauer was a clown prince, but his writing was excellent and his thought moving, if not sublime, in some places.

Schop was a contemporary of Kant and somewhat jealous of the philosophical don's popularity. Kant, who was a dry and often dull writer, had a reputation for being a great speaker and his lectures were often packed to standing room only. Schop made an arrogant move by sche
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  • Culture and Value
  • Untimely Meditations
  • Phenomenology of Perception
  • Truth and Method
  • The Philosophy of Schopenhauer
  • Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics
  • The Sickness Unto Death (Kierkegaard's Writings, Vol 19)
  • Nietzsche and Philosophy (European Perspectives)
  • Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature
  • Cartesian Meditations: An Introduction to Phenomenology
  • Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist
  • Matter and Memory
  • A Treatise of Human Nature
  • A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge
  • A Short History of Decay
  • Phenomenology of Spirit
  • Ethics
  • The Ego and Its Own
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Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher best known for his work The World as Will and Representation. Schopenhauer attempted to make his career as an academic by correcting and expanding Immanuel Kant's philosophy concerning the way in which we experience the world.

More about Arthur Schopenhauer...
Essays and Aphorisms The World as Will and Representation, Vol 2 The Art of Always Being Right The Wisdom of Life On the Suffering of the World

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“The life of every individual is really always a tragedy, but gone through in detail, it has the character of a comedy.” 50 likes
“What give all that is tragic, whatever its form, the characteristic of the sublime, is the first inkling of the knowledge that the world and life can give no satisfaction, and are not worth our investment in them. The tragic spirit consists in this. Accordingly it leads to resignation.” 25 likes
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