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The Philosophy of Schopenhauer$
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Bryan Magee

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198237228

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198237227.001.0001

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Some Criticisms and Problems

Some Criticisms and Problems

(p.226) Chapter 10 Some Criticisms and Problems
The Philosophy of Schopenhauer

Bryan Magee

Oxford University Press

Schopenhauer's chief mistake derived from his acceptance of Newtonian science and lay in his belief that the empirical world must be deterministic. This deprived his assumptions of any basis for moral judgements in this world, and led to inner contradictions in his ethics: it means that we are not free to reject the world, as he believes we should; and in any case, if we did, that would constitute a rejection of compassion, which he is not in favour of. There is also a contradiction in his theory of music: if music is the direct voice of the metaphysical will, and the metaphysical will is inherently evil, there should be something nightmarish about music, yet Schopenhauer considers it uniquely marvellous. There are other errors in his philosophy too: for instance, he underestimates the importance of history. But, as Voltaire said, it is the privilege of a great genius to make great mistakes.

Keywords:   compassion, determinism, music, Newtonian science, Schopenhauer, the will, theory of music

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