Essays of Arthur Schopenhauer: the Art of Controversy

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Category: Philosophy
When I think, it is the spirit of the world which is striving to express its thought; it is nature which is trying to know and fathom itself. It is not the thoughts of some other mind, which I am endeavouring to trace; but it is I who transform that which exists into something which is known and thought, and would otherwise neither come into being nor continue in it. In the realm of physics it was held for thousands of years to be a fact beyond question that water was a simple and consequently an original element. In the ...
Category: Philosophy
By the ancients, Logic and Dialectic were used as synonymous terms; although [Greek: logizesthai], "to think over, to consider, to calculate," and [Greek: dialegesthai], "to converse," are two very different things. The name Dialectic was, as we are informed by Diogenes Laertius, first used by Plato; and in the Phaedrus, Sophist, Republic , bk. vii., and elsewhere, we find that by Dialectic he means the regular employment of the reason, and skill in the practice of it. Aristotle also uses the word in this sense; but, according to Laurentius Valla, he was the first to use Logic too in a ...
Category: Philosophy
In the productions of poetic genius, especially of the epic and dramatic kind, there is, apart from Beauty, another quality which is attractive: I mean Interest. The beauty of a work of art consists in the fact that it holds up a clear mirror to certain ideas inherent in the world in general; the beauty of a work of poetic art in particular is that it renders the ideas inherent in mankind, and thereby leads it to a knowledge of these ideas. The means which poetry uses for this end are the exhibition of significant characters and the invention of ...
Category: Philosophy
The simple Philistine believes that life is something infinite and unconditioned, and tries to look upon it and live it as though it left nothing to be desired. By method and principle the learned Philistine does the same: he believes that his methods and his principles are unconditionally perfect and objectively valid; so that as soon as he has found them, he has nothing to do but apply them to circumstances, and then approve or condemn. But happiness and truth are not to be seized in this fashion. It is phantoms of them alone that are sent to us here, ...
Category: Philosophy
In the moment when a great affliction overtakes us, we are hurt to find that the world about us is unconcerned and goes its own way. As Goethe says in Tasso , how easily it leaves us helpless and alone, and continues its course like the sun and the moon and the other gods: ... die Welt, wie sie so leicht, Uns hülflos, einsam lässt, und ihren Weg, Wie Sonn' und Mond und andre Götter geht . Nay more! it is something intolerable that even we ourselves have to go on with the mechanical round of our daily business, and ...
Category: Philosophy
I. The Extension .—This consists in carrying your opponent's proposition beyond its natural limits; in giving it as general a signification and as wide a sense as possible, so as to exaggerate it; and, on the other hand, in giving your own proposition as restricted a sense and as narrow limits as you can, because the more general a statement becomes, the more numerous are the objections to which it is open. The defence consists in an accurate statement of the point or essential question at issue. Example 1.—I asserted that the English were supreme in drama. My opponent attempted ...
Category: Philosophy
THE ESSAYS OF ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER: THE ART OF CONTROVERSY TRANSLATED BY T. BAILEY SAUNDERS, M.A. TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE. The volume now before the reader is a tardy addition to a series in which I have endeavoured to present Schopenhauer's minor writings in an adequate form. Its contents are drawn entirely from his posthumous papers. A selection of them was given to the world some three of four years after his death by his friend and literary executor, Julius Frauenstädt, who for this and other offices of piety, has received less recognition than he deserves. The papers then published have recently been ...