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Chapter 1 - Different Kinds of Willing in Schopenhauer

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

Chris Janaway argues that Schopenhauer's theory of negation of the will is problematic: How can you will not to will?If will is the basis of all reality, who would remain to experience the satisfaction that negation of the will supposedly generates? Janaway argues that negation of the will is best thought of as negation specifically of the will to life, and that this is compatible with the existence of other kinds of willing. Will to life is egoistic willing; and the negation of this kind of willing is consistent with nonegoistic willing and, in particular, moral action. This more constrained interpretation of the doctrine of negation of the will not only makes more sense of the text when Schopenhauer distinguishes between self- and other-directed willing; it helps clarify Schopenhauer’s account of the relation between virtue and holiness. The morally righteous person has other-directed desires at least some of the time, but not necessarily all of the time, while the saint no longer has any self-directed desires at all. Finally, Janaway shows that this interpretation of negation of the will has the virtue of bringing Schopenhauer closer to the Buddhist models he cites in support of his theory.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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