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German Literature:
 Literature At The End Of The Eighteenth Century

 Goethe

 Schiller

 Richter

 The Romanticists

 Kant

 Schopenhauer

 Poets Of The War Of Liberation

 The Reaction Against Romanticism

 Heine

 Read More Articles About: German Literature

Schopenhauer

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

Still another philosopher long suffered from neglect of his teachings, but has in recent time had powerful influence on thought: Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860). He was full of contempt for the superficiality of existence and became the boldest assertor of pessimism. His life corresponded to his doctrine. He was unsociable and dogmatic, in youth immoral, and in age cynical. When his fellow students were filled with enthusiasm against Napoleon, Schopenhauer recognized in the conqueror merely the stronger expression of the selfishness of all men, and instead of taking arms against him, went to the Weimar Library to write a philosophical essay for his degree. His chief treatise is "The World as Will and Idea" (1819), in which he maintained that previous philosophers had erred in making reason the primary object in philosophy; whereas, he argued that in knowing, the ego, or subject perceiving, and the object perceived, are but opposite poles of the same thing; but in willing, there is a revelation of an inner real existence. The identity of the ego in "I will" and "I know" is the mystery which philosophy must ponder. Schopenhauer expressed his admiration for Plato and Kant, his contempt for Fichte, and his hostility to Hegel. There was practically no call for his services at any university. He renounced all superstitions of duty to country, kindred or associates, and found pleasure in reading the ancient and modern classics. He admired asceticism and was attracted to Buddhism, the similarity of which to his own philosophy is generally recognized. While the former philosophers had almost immediate effect upon literature, Schopenhauer did not exert any in his lifetime, but since his death his views have appeared in the literature of many countries.

It may be added to this brief sketch of the philosophers of the earlier part of the Century, that their work has been continued by eminent successors. Hermann Rudolf Lotze (1817-1881) was professor in Göttingen and ranked first among metaphysicians. Among his works are the "Microcosmos of Philosophy" (1856-64), and his valuable "History of Esthetics in Germany" (1868).

He gave countenance to the later development of physiological psychology.

The successor of Schopenhauer as an exponent of pessimism is Eduard von Hartmann, born in 1842. On retiring from the Prussian military service in 1865, he devoted himself to philosophy. His greatest work is "The Philosophy of the Unconscious" (1868), which was based on physiology. Among his later works are "The Ethical Consciousness," "The Philosophy of Religion," and "AEsthetics" (1886), besides numerous essays on philosophical, religious, and social questions.

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