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Chapter 6 - On philosophy and natural science

from PARERGA AND PARALIPOMENA, VOLUME 2

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 November 2015

Adrian Del Caro
Affiliation:
University of Tennessee
Christopher Janaway
Affiliation:
University of Southampton
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Summary

§70

Nature is the will insofar as the will beholds itself outside itself, for which its standpoint must be an individual intellect. This is likewise its product.

§71

Instead of demonstrating the wisdom of God from the works of nature and of artistic drives like the English, one should learn from these things that everything that comes about through the medium of representation, hence of the intellect, even if this were one enhanced to the level of reason, is mere bungling compared with that which proceeds directly from the will, as the thing in itself and unmediated by any representation, as are the works of nature. This is the theme of my essay On Will in Nature, which I therefore cannot sufficiently commend to my readers; in it one finds expounded more clearly than anywhere the true focus of my teaching.

§72

If one observes how nature watches over the preservation of the species with such excessive care, by means of the omnipotence of the sexual drive and by virtue of the incalculable surplus of seeds which is prepared in plants, fishes and insects to replace the individual often with hundreds of thousands, while nature on the other hand is little concerned about individuals, then one arrives at the assumption that just as the production of individuals is something easy for nature, the original production of a species is extremely difficult for it. Accordingly we never see these newly arising. Even spontaneous generation, when it occurs (as it does without doubt especially in the case of epizoa and parasites generally) produces only known species; meanwhile the very few extinct species of the fauna currently inhabiting the earth, e.g. the dodo bird (didus ineptus) cannot be replaced by nature, even though they were part of its plan. Therefore we stand amazed at how our eagerness has succeeded in playing such a trick on it.

§73

In the glowing primordial nebula of which the sun that extended to Neptune consisted according to the cosmogony of Laplace, the chemical elements could not exist actually, but instead merely potentially. However, the first and original separating of matter into hydrogen and oxygen, sulphur and carbon, nitrogen, chlorine, etc., as well as into the different metals that are so similar and yet sharply separated, was the first striking of the common chord of the world.

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Chapter
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Schopenhauer: Parerga and Paralipomena
Short Philosophical Essays
, pp. 95 - 160
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2015

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