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19 th Century Philosophy Paper 2 1) According to Arthur Schopenhauer, will is the essence of objective reality. It is the driving force behind physical and mental processes, which define all expects of existence. Within a context of psychology, Schopenhauer describes will as individuals irrational strive towards happiness, which can never reach its objectives, because happiness itself is nothing but an illusion, which serves as motivation for the individual to think of passing its genes to the next generation as his foremost priority. 2) Schopenhauer shares Kant's idea that the physical reality, which can be perceived by our senses, is just one of many manifestations of ideal reality. However, since subjective circumstances of physical reality do not affect the irrational properties of will, it means that irrationality is ontologically superior to rationality. Thus, we can think of will as thing in itself, because it is something that defines the essence of ideal reality as well, to which perceptional reality is subjected, in conceptual sense of this word. The representations of will can be rationalized, whereas will itself cannot, which means that will is thing in itself. 3) Will is not governed by the principle of sufficient reason, therefore, we cannot access it as thing in itself.
We can only comprehend will in terms of its objective manifestations, but the true nature of will can never be fully understood. Since our rationale does not directly derive out of will as self-sufficient phenomenon, we cannot use it as a tool of accessing the true essence of the will. 4) Theoretical egoism is the form of sophism. In regards to theory of will, we can talk about it as method of undermining the validity of Schopenhauer's conclusions. Egoist suggests that there is no proof of will being a universal phenomenon, because we base our conclusions, in regards to the will, on our subjective experiences.
Therefore, such conclusions cannot be universally applicable. 5) The manifestations of will take many different forms. However, it is wrong to talk about the manifestations as such that provide us with the insight on the essence of will, because will is thing in itself, therefore it can never be subjected to quantitative analysis. Thus, we can say that will is free from plurality. 6) Schopenhauer defines idea as ontological essence of just about anything. He describes it as rationalized projection of intuitive knowledge, which cannot be gained but only felt. For example, when someone mentions word rain, we automatically associate it with our sensual perception of wetness. When think of rain within a context of weather, we intentionally deprive ourselves of our intuitive understanding of rains essence as such that is related to our existential mode. 7) When we perceive idea, we position ourselves as subjects, in regards to the idea.
It its turn, idea can only exist for as long as it is being perceived. Thus, we can only discuss object and the subject within a context of their relation to each other. The existence of object implies the existence of subject; therefore, these two concepts can be described as such that have deterministic properties. Subject and object are not a continuum, but have an either-or relationship. Idea is what defines the degree of reality's subjectiveness or objectiveness. 8) Schopenhauer views art as thing in itself, because art, as pursuit, cannot be referred to as such that corresponds to the principle of sufficient reason.
The process of creating a work of art is absolutely irrational. The degree of artists talent can be measured by the degree of his metaphysical independence. In other words, the art that has value is always an abstract art, because indulging in creative process, on the part of artist, is better discussed within a context of self-transcendence then self-actualization. 9) Art allows people to indulge in perceiving ideas, without being subjected to anomalistic desires. Art derives out of minds ability to elevate itself above physiological side of existence, which resides in the domain of will. When we look at the painting, for example, we strive to get an insight on artists emotional state, at the time he was in the process of creating this painting.
By doing this, we unintentionally become one with the artist, thus suppressing our ego, which is nothing but the agent of will. 10) Music is much more abstract, comparing to other forms of art, therefore, in the eyes of Schopenhauer, it has more value. Whereas, painters, sculptors and writers often get bugged down in their own emotions, during the course of creative process, composers write music in absolutely spontaneous manner. Music reflects the position of an abstract mind, in regards to surrounding reality, without being affected by such reality. This is why music is superior to all other forms of art. 11) Schopenhauer's metaphysics are only partially defensible. In the light of recent scientific discoveries, we can refer to the process of evolution as the most obvious biological manifestation of will. Evolutions essential components, such as survival of the fittest or genetic mutations fit perfectly well into Schopenhauer's concept of life as emanation of blind will.
However, it appears that the process of biological evolution is not quite as blind and irrational as Schopenhauer would like to believe, because it results in organisms becoming increasingly complex, which in its turn, reduces the levels of entropy in the universe. The notion of evolution allows us to directly associate the ways of blind will with purposefulness, which cannot be, according to Schopenhauer. The problem is Schopenhauer used to analyze will from phenomenological point of view, which is why we can say that his philosophical conclusions can only be referred to as valid, when we examine static emanations of will and not the representations of will over the course of millions and millions of years. Bibliography: Schopenhauer, Arthur The World as Will and Representation. New York: Dover Publications. 1966.
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