In Search of Schopenhauer's Cat
Arthur Schopenhauer's Quantum-Mystical Theory of Justice
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: The Catholic University of America Press
Title Page, Copyright
The philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer has surprising affinities with many of the current teachings of quantum physics and also with many of the historic tenets of Eastern philosophy and Western religious mysticism. In the course of its romp through that quantummystical worldview, it presents a startlingly unique conception of ...
1. Schopenhauer’s Life
The year was 1840. The place, Copenhagen. The event, a meeting of the Danish Royal Society of the Sciences. The members of the Society found themselves in a quandary. They had sponsored a prize essay contest three years earlier and had invited submissions on the topic of “The Source and Foundation of Morals.” It probably seemed ...
2. Kant’s Influence
At its core, Schopenhauer’s theory of knowledge (and ultimately his ontological theory of justice) is deeply metaphysical and deeply Kantian. It has its starting point, indeed its essential grounding, in the basic premise of Immanuel Kant’s own theory of knowledge—a premise which Kant himself referred to as his own “Copernican Revolution.” ...
3. Schopenhauer’s Departure from Kant
Schopenhauer agreed with Kant that our perceiving mind is the thing that imposes time, space, and causality on external things. He disagreed, however, with Kant’s lament that we cannot know anything about external things as they are in themselves. In Schopenhauer’s view we can know something about external things as they ...
4. Schopenhauer’s Own Claim to Fame
Schopenhauer was not being picky in arguing the existence of this flaw in Kant’s theory. The flaw, if indeed it is one, exists at a very important point in the web of Kant’s reasoning, the point at which subject touches object and object touches subject. If indeed it is a flaw, and more importantly, if Schopenhauer’s own theory rectifies ...
5. Platonic Ideas
The final link that Schopenhauer uses in filling the gap between subject and object is his understanding of the Platonic doctrine of Ideas. Schopenhauer’s understanding is, however, somewhat different from what is popularly taken to be Plato’s own meaning. Plato is popularly understood as holding that there is a separate world of ...
6. Schopenhauer and Contemporary Scientific Theory
The first decade of the twentieth century encased a strange, shadow time. We seem to have named and placed clear associations on the decades that followed, for example, the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, and so on, but not on that first decade. On the surface, perhaps, it seemed to be a generally quiescent time, but underneath, political ...
7. Ontological “Oneness”
In 1975, theoretical physicist Fritjof Capra published a popularization of quantum theory under the title The Tao of Physics. The book also carried a subtitle: An Exploration of the Parallels Between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism. Capra’s book became a best seller, went into second and third editions, and has had a profound ...
8. Justice and the Principium Individuationis
Schopenhauer’s theory of justice can thus be seen as being quite consistent with both David Bohm’s “multi-dimensional implicateorder” interpretation of quantum theory and William Blake’s poetic sensibility, and as leading inexorably to the ethic that Erwin Schrödinger discussed. Indeed Bohm’s interpretation, Blake’s sensibility, and the ethic ...
9. The Inner Conflict
The world reflects the inner nature of the “will.” In the human being, “will” comes to know its reflected nature. With this knowledge, “will” is, for the first time, called upon to do something—to react. In the human, “will” has to either affirm itself or deny itself. It of course affirms itself. But think—it affirms itself at the level of the individual ...
10. A Brief Glimpse into Theistic Natural Law Theory
Schopenhauer’s very important doctrine of “conscience” contains elements that build upon the much older natural law tradition and even upon the biblical accounts on which that tradition is based. ...
11. Eternal Justice
We return now to Schopenhauer’s decidedly nontheistic philosophy, and to his doctrine of the affirmation of the will-to-live. Transferred to the human level, the affirmation of the will to live, the so-called “law of the jungle,” is usually regarded as socially inappropriate, even morally wrong. In that context, then, Schopenhauer’s ...
12. The Denial of the Will to Live
Because of the way in which it manifests itself in the world of appearances, that is, the world as represented to us through the structures of our perceiving mind (time, space, causality, plurality, etc.) the “will,” which at the human level Schopenhauer refers to as the “will to live,” is involved in a delusion. The “will” as thing-in-itself, is ...
13. Schopenhauer and Quietism
Schopenhauer himself gave us a brief but keenly focused definition of “Quietism,” and in doing so, connected it with the concepts of asceticism and mysticism: ...
14. Schopenhauer and Luther
Schopenhauer’s great moral insights, for example, his ethic of virtue rather than duty and his identification of compassion as “the sole non-egoistic motive” and “also the only genuinely moral one,”1 were, in that context of morality, very much an echo of the great insight Martin Luther displayed in his Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans. ...
15. On the Freedom of the Will
A very basic part of Schopenhauer’s theory of justice is his treatment of the age-old issue of free will versus determinism. We saw in the introduction to this study that Schopenhauer had submitted an essay On the Basis of Morality to a contest sponsored by the Danish Royal Society of the Sciences, and that, although his was the only entry, he lost. ...
16. Modern Conceptions of Justice
Schopenhauer’s conception of what might be called “temporal” justice (to distinguish it from his doctrine of eternal justice) is consistent with all the basic themes of his philosophy. “Temporal” justice is the type of justice that inhabits the world of phenomena, the world conditioned by time and space, the principium individuationis, ...
17. Schopenhauer and Contemporary Political Thought
The implications of Schopenhauer’s theory of eternal justice for contemporary political and jurisprudential thought are as sweeping as they are profound. Contemporary political and jurisprudential thought, plagued as it is by polar inconsistencies in its views of humanness itself, and without a metaphysical grounding for its tenets ...
Page Count: 215
Publication Year: 2012
Edition: 1st ed.
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