The Essays of Arthur Schopenhauer: Studies in Pessimism (Dodo Press)
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The Essays of Arthur Schopenhauer: Studies in Pessimism (Dodo Press)

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  371 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) was a German philosopher best known for his work The World as Will and Representation. He responded to and expanded upon Immanuel Kant's philosophy concerning the way in which we experience the world. His critique of Kant, his creative solutions to the problems of human experience and his explication of the limits of human knowledge are amon...more
Paperback, 84 pages
Published February 22nd 2008 by Dodo Press (first published 1851)
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Neil Jenkins
Why does his pessimism uplift me? I think because he points out our psychological weaknesses, it allows you to step outside the box to see yourself, which always feels great.
Marcus Lira
As long as you ignore Schopenhauer's chauvinism in his essay "On Women", this is a really good book.
Nick
Read it while in a depressive mood for the full effect. I picked this one up for the obvious reason that Schopenhauer's pessimism is one of his most famous and unique philosophical trends. Influences from India are obvious to those familiar with the concepts of "taṇhā" (thirst/desire) "maya" (illusion) or "dukkha" (suffering).

On the Sufferings of the World was the most concise expression of his pessimism. Reason is inferior to Will. Will is insatiable. An unsatiated will makes for an unhappy pe...more
Jeff M
The original cranky old man. This book is at least amusing with all of his rants and raves. The message however can easily be summed up as: "Life sucks and than you die." "Women are only good for one thing, and we all know what that is." Than finally, "people make too much damn noise."

Now get off my lawn, and no you can't have your football back!
Sam
it was a lofty one.But such a wise philosopher disappointed me on his description on "women." he regards them with sheer contempt and considers them always secondary in humankind.probably the best quote on it is,"with people of only moderate ability,modesty is mere honesty;but with those who possess great talent,it is hypocrisy."
haripriya
Surprisingly fun read, including the misogynistic(*) essay and all. As a first-time reader of him, Schopenhauer comes across to me as this well-read and sharp guy with a tendency to go overboard with his scornful rants(sure lives up to the title of the book). He dishes out mostly interesting and palatable ideas to chew over and then shocks trying to force down something "seemingly" outrageous! I thought he was bang on in 2 of the essays-"On Suicide" and "On Education".

To describe the overall rea...more
Stacey Teague
notes i made whilst reading this:

thought for what is absent and future
consumed by reflection
what others think of you influences how we act in most situations
things that we deem necessary to have in order to live
entire sacrifice of self
assume that we are infinite like time/space (vanity)
present is to past as something is to nothing
hunger and the sexual instinct
becoming but never being
want for nothing
we are bored when we realise there is nothing valuable one can do with their time, which is the es...more
Michael Walsh
Given time to reflect on this book as a whole, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it. Schopenhauer's pessimism is unrelenting, which is of course a necessary condition for such a work. At times his pessimism appears to be a lucid description of the human condition, but at times it also feels distant. Once you read his essay on women, it all sort of feels distorted. I picture Schopenhauer writing his essays in a constant grimace, in a terrible mood, and obviously after his chapter on noise (o...more
Jacob Sanders
Again, totally worth it. Just have to read around his sexist and racist viewpoints.
Chinonso Anunkor
Made much sense the second time around
Jakob
What to say about this one? This is a collection of essays written by the ultimate grumpy philosopher. The texts were originally published in 'Pererga und Paralipomena', and the following essays are included:

ON THE SUFFERINGS OF THE WORLD
ON THE VANITY OF EXISTENCE
ON SUICIDE
IMMORTALITY: A DIALOGUE
PSYCHOLOGICAL OBSERVATIONS
ON EDUCATION
OF WOMEN
ON NOISE
A FEW PARABLES

Schopenhauer is in my opinion one of the most interesting and perspicacious philosophers. He is also one of the most readable philosoph...more
John Martindale
3 Stars because it was a bit entertaining and funny. Of course, my calling it entertaining and funny, would likely be a disappointment to Schopenhauer if he was still around to read the review. He would be far more pleased if I read his book and then went out and shot myself. His chapter on suicide was amusing, ranting against the absurdity that its against the law, for after all, the bible itself never even says anything against killing yourself!
Since I carry with me a melancholy personality,...more
Rlotz
Schopenhauer is the hunched-over, cranky old man who resides in all of us. I think even the most resolutely cheerful person would identify with some of what he says, if only because Schopenhauer articulates his views in such a lucid, entertaining way. And, really, it’s fun to be cranky—yelling at the neighborhood kids making a racket, snubbing your nose at chattering women, and looking down at the general imbecility of mankind (all this can be found in the essay).

What is amazing about Schopenhau...more
Ashish
The first few chapters are very thought provoking however, the latter part of the book devolves into narrow mindedness and a reflection of society's influence on a man's perspectives. The final chapter is rather pointless.
Grant Phipps
If you're planning to read these essays, may I suggest avoiding the haphazardness of "Psychological Observations" and "A Few Parables." Additionally, "Of Women" is built upon this idea of competitive social rankings that need not exist as well as the assumption that everyone is heterosexual. It is so narrow-minded and offensive that no one should even bother reading it.
As for the remaining essays, there are generally enlightening bits on agnosticism, vanity/individuality, happiness/suffering, no...more
Faez
Shopenhauer's pessimism is not depressive. It has something which makes it consolation. That something could be the well argued and sharp attempt to lower our happy expectations.
Juka Pakatsoshvili
wanted to rate this book but it would not refer to all chapters equally. on Woman, that chapter was totally misogynic, plus which the author is a homophobe too. that was disappointing because there were a few really interesting points in the first few chapters, i mean, evil being positive, and the case of "immortality." P.S. i've heard he's been overshadowed by his contemporary Hegel and that increased my interest, because there were some authors who's ideas are kind of lost because of that prob...more
ELK
Wonderful when discussing actual topic (philosophy and pessimism, as promised in the title). Less wonderful when discussing womenfolk. Serves a fabulous dish good old-fashioned sexism. Luckily, it's contained within a single essay and easily avoided.
Arys Aditya
Saya paling suka dan membaca belasan kali 2 buah esei di buku ini: pertama, On Suicide. Bagaimana Schopenhauer mengkritik teolog-teolog seputar keinvalidan pemahaman mereka terhadap bunuh diri (dan kritik ini juga mempengaruhi pandangan saya terhadap sebagian besar hal dan aktivitas, tak hanya bunuh diri).
Kedua, adalah The Vanity of Existence. Esai menggebrak tak hanya benak, tapi juga batin saya. Esei ini memberi saya semangat besar untuk terus memandang pesimis semua hal yang pernah dan akan t...more
Bro_Pair أعرف
That was pretty fun. There's no sort of rigor or design to the essays; I could picture Artie just ranting in his attic and writing the best stuff down. At its best, like the first three essays, it's phenomenal, vicious and unsentimental, and funny, too. Middling, it's still pretty funny, as with his rant about the sound of whip cracks. At its worst, it's laughably unmoored; the chapter on women reads like DemoniusX with a year of college behind him. But ultimately Schopenhauer is clear, ruthless...more
Kyle
It was very interesting and thought-provoking and then you see just how sexist he is!
Sav3mys0ul
I liked the first 4 chapters a lot, especially the Immortality: A dialogue, it gave a sense of what the Author is all about and what his view of life was in Existential terms but after reading the chapter on Women, I was very disappointed. I tried to be objective and think of his view of a man from 18th century but still he was ignorant of the real women issues and was short sighted. The chapters in the end were not thought provoking as his earlier chapters but nonetheless, the book is well writ...more
Nativeabuse
A neat little collection of essays, the first few about life are the best ones, and really made me want to look for more of his work very soon. The later ones such as On Women/ On Noise/ On Education, ect are not really very useful, but are quite humorous.

You could easily skip the later half of the essays, although they are not as bad as everyone here seems to think they are.

Would definitely recommend this. Great little introduction to the philosopher, and not to heavy of material. 8/10
wigwam
Haha, admittedly I was most interested in Schopenhauer cuz of the elements of misanthropy he's (in)famous for, and this certainly focuses on that (turns out this is a collection of pieces/excerpts, some are familiar if you've read Will&Rep and/or Aphorisms). But it gets a little too bogged down in same-ness whereas his other (official) works give a bigger picture, as I recall.

"On Noise" and "Psychological Observations" were the big surprises (and airtight idea(l)s in here.
Desiree Finkbeiner
LOL, I should have suspected by the title that this would not be a positive book. I had hoped that perhaps it would be something that explored how pessimism could be overcome- alas, it came off as the frumpy grumpy monologue of an old arrogant humbug, rambling about how life stinks, then you die. Could not finish. moving on to something enlightening.
هُدوءْ!
Skip the nonsense of " On Women " Chapter, and the book will be interesting.
Andrea Hickman Walker
This really is as depressing as the title makes it sound. It's also incredibly sexist and mysogynistic. Impressively so, even. I've read a fair bit of older material and am well used to rampant sexism and racism and other unpleasantisms, but this was mysogynistic enough to disgust me into not finishing it.
Marts  (Thinker)
Interesting philosophical text... a bit of comparison between philosophy and religion, I appreciate his focus on realities in life and looking at all things not just as what we are told to percieve of them but on the deeper aspects of thier effects on life.
Lee
My first philosophical audio files . . . The roots of Bernhard and Kafka's "In the Penal Colony," plus whiffs of "Before the Law." Awesomely dated sexist bit called "On Women" that ultimately argues in favor of polygamy.
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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...
The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1 Essays and Aphorisms The World as Will and Representation, Vol 2 The Art of Always Being Right The Wisdom of Life

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“Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.” 367 likes
“If children were brought into the world by an act of pure reason alone, would the human race continue to exist? Would not a man rather have so much sympathy with the coming generation as to spare it the burden of existence, or at any rate not take it upon himself to impose that burden upon it in cold blood?” 85 likes
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