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Schopenhauer: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #62)

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  171 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Schopenhauer is the most readable of the German philosophers. This book offers a succinct exploration of his metaphysical system, concentrating on the original aspects of his thought, which inspired many artists and thinkers including Nietzsche, Wagner, Frued and Wittgenstein. Schopenhauer's central notion is that of the will - a blind, irrational force that he uses to int ...more
Paperback, 137 pages
Published February 21st 2002 by Oxford University Press (first published 1994)
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Glenn Russell

Christopher Janaway’s little book on the life and philosophy of 19th century German thinker Arthur Schopenhauer makes for a most engaging and thought-provoking read. Indeed, if you are interested in literature and the arts or would like have a deeper understanding of the challenges in life we all face yet are generally put off by philosophers and philosophy, this book is for you. By way of example, here are some Janaway and Schopenhauer quotes along with my comments.

“Humanity is poised between t
Riku Sayuj

Read primarily to get a better fix on Mann. But Schopie is so fascinating. I am hooked now. Can't see how I am going to avoid reading W&R.
For being a short introduction, the author sure repeated himself a lot. It was a pretty quick read, though, and now I know something more about Schopenhauer than that he was a pessimist. The funny thing is, I enjoyed his negativity before I was familiar with the metaphysical system upon which he supported it, but now it's hard for me to separate his pessimistic conclusions from his metaphysics, and I'm just not buying it. I've never thought too much of Plato's eternal forms or Ideas (except as p ...more
Mar 02, 2011 Kate rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: seekers and strivers
Recommended to Kate by: 193 J
Shelves: philosophy
Operari sequitur esse.

What gives to everything tragic the characteristic tendency to the sublime, is the dawning of the knowledge that the world and life can afford us no true satisfaction, and are therefore not worth our attachment to them.

Every satisfied desire gives birth to a new one. No possible satisfaction in the world could suffice to still its craving, set a final goal to its demands, and fill the bottomless pit of its heart.

Everything in life proclaims that earthly happiness is destine
Apr 11, 2007 Jason rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Philosophers and pessimists
Shelves: biography, philosophy
Janaway's introduction to Schopenhauer is a great outline of an extremely influential but difficult 19th century philosopher. Like the other Very Short Introductions, Janaway gives a brief biography and outline of Schopenhauer's work. He also illustrates the enormous influence that Schopenhauer had on late 19th century though, especially on Nietzsche and Freud (the latter concealing his intellectual debt to old Arthur, according to Janaway.)
Jeroen Berndsen
NBD|Biblion: [return]Het als literatuur lezende werk van Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), Duits filosofisch 'kopstuk', wordt door de auteur van deze introductie belicht naar verschillende aspecten. Dit zijn: het leven van Schopenhauer, de invloeden op hem (Plato, Kant, Hegel, het hindoeisme), de eigenheid van zijn denken (uiteenzettingen over antropologie, 'psychologie' -die nog niet bestond-, esthetica, ethiek, zingeving) en de invloed van Schopenhauer (op Nietzsche, Wagner, Freud, Jung, Wittge ...more
Jackson Cyril
A very detailed look at Schopenhauer's philosophy. The author's admirable quality to let Schopenhauer himself make his case and only insert commentary when needed is to be greatly lauded. This is not to imply that the book is an easy read; the chapters on metaphysics are especially difficult to trudge through, but worth it I think, as the reader begins to understand one of the most unique voices in philosophy.
Gilmara Mendes
The book is good, but there are some ideas that are a little out there and somewhat contradictory.
Austin Porter
The very short introduction series is generally good. A good way to feel someone out before digging into the text. A good way to get some understanding of the writers who influenced a philosopher yu are reading.
"Men are by nature merely indifferent to one another; but women are by nature enemies."
Frank Spencer
Very Short Introductions seldom if ever let you down.
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The Cambridge Companion to Schopenhauer Beyond Selflessness: Reading Nietzsche's Genealogy Reading Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art: Selected Texts with Interactive Commentary Willing and Nothingness: Schopenhauer as Nietzsche's Educator Images of Excellence: Plato's Critique of the Arts

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