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Chapter 6 - Schopenhauer in Dialogue with Fichte and Schelling: Schopenhauer’s Critique of Moral Fatalism and His Turn to Freedom from Willing

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 December 2022

Judith Norman
Affiliation:
Trinity University, Texas
Alistair Welchman
Affiliation:
University of Texas, San Antonio
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Summary

Manja Kisner stresses Schopenhauer’s continuity with Fichte and Schelling through Fichte’s concept of the intelligible subject as a nexus of ethical drives that tend toward an ethical world order. Schopenhauer rejected so much of this concept that we often miss the positive influences. Kisner points to the fact that Fichte was discussing agency in terms of drives, and responding to the problem of illicitly positing a causal relationship between the intelligible and empirical registers. Schopenhauer disagrees with Fichte’s idea that the intelligible world is a sort of moral destination, his moral fatalism. Kisner sees WWR as a reply to Fichte on this account. Schelling furthers the development toward Schopenhauer, however, by abandoning moral fatalism, and seeing the possibility of moral as well as immoral action, as contingent (not fatalistic) and rooted in an irrational, amoral ground. Schopenhauer can be seen as continuing and radicalizing it. He accepted Schelling’s notion of an amoral ground of being, but viewed it as an occasion for a negative rather than a positive morality. Freedom comes not from grounding oneself in the will and acting rationally, but from resisting the will altogether. Still, this theoretical move presupposes the philosophical tools developed by Schopenhauer’s contemporaries.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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