Schopenhauer and the Stoics

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This paper considers the largely unexplored relation between Schopenhauer’s metaphysical system of Will and the philosophical therapy offered by Stoicism. By focusing on three key texts from disparate points in Schopenhauer’s philosophical career, as well as considering live debates regarding the metaphorical nature of his thought and his soteriology, I argue that the general view of straightforward opposition between himself and the Stoics is not the correct one. Rather, there are deep parallels to be found between the therapeutic aspects of The World as Will and Representation (WWR) and the ethical recommendations made by the ancient Stoics. I will argue, further, that Schopenhauer recognised these similarities between his thought and Stoic ethics, often defending what he sees as the true essence of Stoicism. I conclude with some thoughts regarding the adoption of Stoic ideals by Nietzsche and Wittgenstein, in relation to their reading of Schopenhauer’s work.
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Archival date: 2020-06-09
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