World as Will and Idea, World as Will and Representation
[Schopenhauer, biography]
Schopenhauer, biography, philosophy

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Arthur Schopenhauer
biography & philosophy

  Arthur Schopenhauer was born on February 22 1788 in Danzig (now - Gdansk, Poland) which was then a "Free City" largely controlled by Germanic trading interests and functioning within the constitutional arrangements of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonmwealth.

In the late eighteenth century Poland featured some serious social and political turmoils which contributed to several partitions of that ancient kingdom.
When Prussia took Danzig over in 1793 as a result of the so-called Second Partitition of Poland, his father, a successful and liberal-minded merchant, moved the family to Hamburg.

  In 1809 Schopenhauer enrolled at the University of Göttingen where he studied medicine for two years but later studied philosophy at the University of Berlin. He completed his doctorate in philosophy at Jena in 1813.

   Following on from this period of formal education he relied on his inherited income to finance a period of private contemplation, study and philosophy writing. From 1814 to 1818 he lived in Dresden where his principal work, The World as Will and Representation, which is also known as The World as Will and Idea, was written. In 1819 it was published - to meet with very little in the way of public acclaim. 

   After an unsuccessful period of lectureship in Berlin prior to 1831 he settled in Frankfurt am Main, where he led a solitary life and became deeply involved in the study of Buddhist and Hindu philosophies and mysticism where he seems to have found echoes of the approach to philosophy that he was independently working on.

  He was also influenced by the ideas of the German Dominican theologian, mystic, and eclectic philosopher Meister Eckhart, the German theosophist and mystic Jakob Boehme, and the scholars of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment.

   Schopenhauer had suffered a great disappointment circa 1820 as his publication of The World as Will and Idea had fallen flat in terms of a public response - he himself considered that his philosophy explained a great deal!!!
   A second edition published, in two volumes, some twenty five years later did not fare much better. This 1844 edition was remarkable in that the first volume was effectively the work of 1819 whilst the second, and larger, volume was a book of commentary. 

   In the intervening years he had written several works including On the Will in Nature (1836), The Freedom of the Will (1841), and The Foundations of Morality (1841).

   Although an Essay on the Freedom of the Will had been recognised through the awardance of a cultural prize in Norway in 1839 he was into his sixties when the publication of his collection of essays Parerga and Paralipomena (i.e. Additions and Omissions - 1851) really brought public attention to his life's work.

   Arthur Schopenhauer was seventy-two years of age, and internationally famous, at the time of his death on September 21 1860.

Schopenhauer's philosophy 

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Arthur Schopenhauer