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Chapter 10 - Seeing Things: Schopenhauer’s Kant Critique and Direct Realism

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

Alistair Welchman argues that Schopenhauer was a direct perceptual realist. This interpretation of Schopenhauer’s epistemology sheds light on two difficulties elsewhere in his thought. The first is in his theory of compassion. Schopenhauer’s official view is that in compassion we see through the veil of maya into our essential identity with all other beings as will. Many commentators find this extravagant and suggest a psychological account instead, in which we imagine ourselves into the situation of the other. However this is contradicted by Schopenhauer’s own account of a similar contemporary theory, in which he appears to suggest that we directly perceive the Other’s emotions. But there is another advantage to this view: Schopenhauer is also a direct realist about perception of meaning, and this has repercussions for his (late) view that his metaphysics is hermeneutic in nature.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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