24 votes
Accepted

What does Schopenhauer mean by 'A man can do what he wants, but not want what he wants'?

This is just an old paradox in discussions of free will. You are free to do whatever you desire. But you are not free to choose your desires. Similarly, Marx said, "man" makes his own history, but ...
Nelson Alexander's user avatar
9 votes

What does Schopenhauer mean by 'A man can do what he wants, but not want what he wants'?

It's hard to translate from German where the sentence is very clear: Der Mensch kann zwar tun, was er will, aber er kann nicht wollen, was er will. I think a more understandable way to translate it ...
309963d8521805330a44bdcb3d87f3's user avatar
6 votes

Why was music such a fascination for philosophers and mathematicians alike?

Why restrict yourself to philosophers and mathematicians? Lots of people are interested in music, many more than are actually interested in either of the disciplines mentioned above. And most are ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
5 votes

How does Schopenhauer maintain idealism without God?

Berkeley populated the world with entities, ideas, which were in their essence perceptions. Berkeley's famous formula was "esse est percipi", to be is to be perceived. Those perceptions, the ideas, ...
Ram Tobolski's user avatar
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5 votes

How does Schopenhauer maintain idealism without God?

The World Will, primordial, blind, and irrational, "holds the world together" in Schopenhauer's philosophy. It doesn't do a very good job of it, but then he was not called the father of pessimism for ...
Conifold's user avatar
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4 votes
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In which sense Wittgenstein criticizes Schopenhauer's WILL?

Bryan Magee, The Philosophy of Schopenhauer (1997) has Ch.14 dedicated to: Schopenhauer's Influence on Wittgenstein. [page 310] This influence can be asserted with absolute certainty; it is clear ...
Mauro ALLEGRANZA's user avatar
4 votes

How can Arthur Schopenhauer explain homosexuality, if the ultimate goal of the 'will-to-life' is procreation?

Arthur Schopenhauer offered two solution to the problems caused in us by the 'will-to-life;' one is art and philosophy, but the better choice is becoming a sage. But Schopenhauer does not say who ...
Michael Lee's user avatar
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4 votes

I can't understand Schopenhauer on space

Understanding the Kantian distinction between appearance and thing in itself is important for a grasp of Schopenhauer. There are appearances conditioned by space, time and the categories. Then there ...
Max Sitting's user avatar
3 votes
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Schopenhauer's Fourfold Root: query on a passage

The key to understanding the italicized part of your question is “in itself”. If the first state of matter is the cause in itself (and does not become the cause as a result of something else at a ...
Victoria M.'s user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

Had Wittgenstein moved away from Schopenhauer by the time of the Tractatus?

Note that the first qoute from Schopenhauer: "The world is my idea”—this is a truth which holds good for everything that lives and knows, though man alone can bring it into reflective and ...
Ram Tobolski's user avatar
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3 votes

Had Wittgenstein moved away from Schopenhauer by the time of the Tractatus?

In his youth Wittgenstein was interested in Schopenhauer's epistemology (largely inherited from Berkeley and Kant), but after his interests shifted to logic and mathematics he found it wanting under ...
Conifold's user avatar
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3 votes

How does Schopenhauer maintain idealism without God?

Schopenhauer offers a double epistemological aspect of the world, which is to say, existence, as being at once Will and Idea. His work is not explicitly a study of ontology, i.e. essence/being, beyond ...
leigh Fetter's user avatar
3 votes

How does Nietzsche's last man refuse life?

I don't think Nietzsche's last man refuses life. Rather, he accepts the life of a herd animal. No more exceptional human beings. According to Nietzsche in Genealogy, man will never find life ...
Richard Kayser's user avatar
3 votes

What does Schopenhauer mean by 'A man can do what he wants, but not want what he wants'?

It strikes me that: A man cannot want ... what he wants is an expression of 'inner necessity'; it ought to be read as 'a man can only want what he wants'; and in this way its tautological ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
3 votes

What does Schopenhauer mean by 'A man can do what he wants, but not want what he wants'?

I think it is quite simple. A man can do what he wants. This, of course, means he is free to choose to do what he likes. A man however, cannot want what he wants. This, to me, means that I cannot have ...
Kalpak Nikumbh's user avatar
2 votes

What does Schopenhauer mean by 'A man can do what he wants, but not want what he wants'?

Wants form a hierarchy. This is the key. Not all wants are on a level; some wants refer to other wants. Simply put, we can have wants and also wants about our wants - meta-wants. For example, I can ...
Geoffrey Thomas's user avatar
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2 votes

Why does Wittgenstein say Schopenhauer has a crude mind?

An article by Severin Schroeder provides a speculative interpretation of what W. may have meant: “It should also be noted that Schopenhauer’s observation is very limited.  He correctly observes that ...
Josh Malle's user avatar
2 votes

Why does Wittgenstein say Schopenhauer has a crude mind?

Late Wittgenstein wrote that because he was very critical of Schopenhauer's philosophy. You may think his criticism was maybe too strong, but it is natural among philosophers to employ that kind of ...
James Walker's user avatar
2 votes

Schopenhauer and space-time

Minkowski is a somewhat obscure figure and I do not know if he read Schopenhauer (probably not). However, Einstein did read both Schopenhauer (in his early 20s) and Kant (at 16 he read all 3 critiques)...
Dennis Kozevnikoff's user avatar
2 votes
Accepted

What editions of Schopenhauer's principal works have translated quotations?

EFJ Payne's translation of 'The World as Will and Representation' translates in footnotes all the foreign language quotes. This is available in a Dover Books edition. More generally all your ...
Geoffrey Thomas's user avatar
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2 votes

Why was music such a fascination for philosophers and mathematicians alike?

I think this is a rather deep topic, worthy of more than just an answer. However, I think the musings of Alan Watts provide an excellent answer: music is intrinsically close in nature to the act of ...
Cort Ammon's user avatar
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2 votes
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Another Schopenhauer "Fourfold Root" question

Schopenhauer begins by noting that when we view an object, the information that is impressed upon our retinas is upside down (since the light rays cross after entering the eye). He then notes that if ...
nwr's user avatar
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2 votes
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Unclear phrase in Arthur Schopenhauer's essay

Quote in context and its origin This quote is dubious. It is supposed to be taken from "a chapter in the Parerga entitled Den Intellekt überhaupt und in jeder Beziehung betreffende Gedanken: ...
Philip Klöcking's user avatar
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2 votes

Unclear phrase in Arthur Schopenhauer's essay

To understand Schopenhauer’s definition of genius, we have to keep in mind a few of the following considerations:* The difference between a genius and an ordinary person lies exclusively in the ...
Victoria M.'s user avatar
2 votes

How can Arthur Schopenhauer explain homosexuality, if the ultimate goal of the 'will-to-life' is procreation?

It's suprising that in the proliferation of philosophical reflection on homosexuality or gayness, Schopenhauer has been left in the cupboard or, as some might say, the closet. The following extract ...
Geoffrey Thomas's user avatar
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2 votes

I can't understand Schopenhauer on space

My answer would be that Schopenhauer said that “will” is “fundamental”, rather than “natural forces” being fundamental. He flipped the dependency around. In other words “natural forces” are forms of “...
Keith Knauber's user avatar
2 votes

Schopenhauer and the 'ability to make decisions' as a metric for free will

You are wrong with your interpretation of Schopenhauer. "Man can do what he wills" means exactly that man can decide what he will do, choose his actions. "...but he cannot will what he ...
Pertti Ruismäki's user avatar

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