Seeing Things: Schopenhauer's Kant Critique and Direct Realism

In Alistair Welchman & Judith Norman (eds.), Schopenhauer's 'the World as Will and Representation': A Critical Guide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2022)
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In this paper I argue, in the first section, that Schopenhauer was a direct perceptual realist. I think Schopenhauer’s critique of Kant in the Appendix to WWR 1 is largely bound together by his view that Kant was still welded to a pre-critical indirect perceptual realism which creates the various points of tension or compromise formations that Schopenhauer enumerates. In the second section I go on to argue that this perceptual direct realism sheds light on his account of compassion, in particular making it more plausible that he is a direct realist about our perception of the emotions, or wills, of others (at least in the appropriate circumstances). This helps to resolve a problem identified in the literature, especially by David Cartwright. In the last section I address an objection, and show that far from being an objection, it in fact strengthens my position.

Author's Profile

Alistair Welchman
University of Texas at San Antonio


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