Schopenhauer’s Two Metaphysics

In Sandra Shapshay (ed.), Palgrave Schopenhauer Handbook. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 129-149 (2017)
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Schopenhauer positions himself squarely within the tradition of Kant’s transcendental idealism, and his first sense of the metaphysical comprises the synthetic cognition a priori that makes experience possible within transcendental idealism. This is Schopenhauer’s transcendental metaphysics. As he developed philosophically however, Schopenhauer devised a second sense of the metaphysical. This second sense also depends, albeit negatively, on transcendental idealism because its central claim—that the thing in itself should be identified with will—looks like precisely a species of transcendent metaphysics, a claim that goes beyond the possibility of experience into the cognitively forbidden realm of things in themselves. I shall argue however that this second sense of the metaphysical can be formulated much more independently of transcendental idealism, following a recent similar interpretation of Kant due to Rae Langton, and that this makes for some surprising connections to contemporary metaphysics.

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Alistair Welchman
University of Texas at San Antonio


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