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The thing-in-itself and will in the thought of Schopenhauer

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Nicholls, Moira (1995) The thing-in-itself and will in the thought of Schopenhauer. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

The central claim of Schopenhauer's philosophy is that the thing-in-itself is
will. After giving a brief overview of the way in which this claim has been
interpreted by other commentators I argue that it has at least six possible
interpretations. I assess the relative importance of each, both to Schopenhauer
himself and to the commentator attempting to construct the most consistent
account of Schopenhauees central doctrines.
I argue that Interpretations 1 and 2, according to which the thing-in-itself is
identical with the will or the will-to-live, are the most important to
Schopenhauer, while Interpretation 3 is the most consistent with his other
doctrines. According to Interpretation 3, while the thing-in-itself is will, it also
has other aspects, and I argue that these other aspects are the objects of
mystical awareness and salvation. According to Interpretation 4 the thing-initself
is unknown but is called will in the qualified sense that the will stands
nearest to the thing-in-itself, and according to Interpretation 5 the thing-in-itself
is called will but only metaphorically; I argue that these two interpretations are
less well supported than 1, 2 and 3. Finally, according to Interpretation 6, the
will is the metaphysical but non-noumenal essence of the phenomenal world,
and I argue that this is suggestive of a world-view that Schopenhauer might
well have embraced had his thought continued to develop.
Next, I turn to issues of justification. One, is Schopenhauer justified in
claiming that there is a thing-in-itself and that it is will? Two, is he justified in
claiming that we can have knowledge of the thing-in-itself and know it as will?
Three, is he justified in using language to talk about the thing-in-itself and
describe it as will? I argue that despite the inadequacies in Schopenhauer's
own arguments, other arguments provide some measure of support for his
claim that there is a thing-in-itself that we can know and describe as will. In Appendices 1, 2 and 3, I consider how the possibility arises of multiple
interpretations of Schopenhauer's fundamental claim that the thing-in-itself is
will, my discussion focussing on some of the influences of Kant and Eastern
thought on his thinking, and some of the influences of Plato.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Schopenhauer, Arthur, 1788-1860, Ding an sich, Will
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Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1995. Includes bibliographical references

Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2015 03:07
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 05:55
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