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Schopenhauer: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by [Janaway, Christopher]
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Schopenhauer: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Review

an excellent brief introduction to Schopenhauer's thought - well-written, concise, and pitched at just the right level. (Christopher Norris, University of Wales)

About the Author

About the Author: Christopher Janaway is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Birbeck College.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 508 KB
  • Print Length: 168 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0192802593
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 1 edition (21 Feb. 2002)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005G6O38S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #256,760 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a neat little book that actually summarises Schopenhauer's work really effectively. I'm currently wading my way through 'The World as Will and Representation', and this book is a very good shortcut straight to Schopenhauer's central ideas. It's actually better than some longer commentaries like Magee's. It even gives a clear idea of why there is no 'School of Schopenhauer' in the way you get say Kantians and Hegellians and how even though he had few followers Schopenhauer was very inflential, primarily in Philosophy to Nietsche and Wittgenstein and in music to Wagner.
Highly Recommended.
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Format: Paperback
Schopenhauer, a German philosopher of the early 19th century, is a greatly neglected thinker today, despite being hugely influential in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, most notably on the thought of Nietzsche, Wagner and Freud. The latter in particular, although he denied it, was greatly influenced by him. Janaway convincingly extends the list to include Mahler, Jung, Mann and others. In fact, if you have not yet delved deeply into the work of Freud or Nietzsche, I would strongly recommend that you tackle Schopenhauer before doing so, and Janaway's is the perfect introduction. It is a well-informed, readable and balanced account, neither an apology nor a savaging. Schopenhauer's metaphysics have not stood the test of time, but his worldview, essentially pessimistic yet with promise of redemption, is still very relevant, and in many ways strikingly modern. If you are at all interested in the development of modern thought, especially that of the various German and Austrian schools, then you need to acquaint yourself with Schopenhauer, and I doubt you will find a better introduction than this book.
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By Dr. H. A. Jones TOP 500 REVIEWER on 15 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
Schopenhauer: A very short introduction by Christopher Janaway, Oxford, 2002, 152 ff.

The world as will
By Howard A. Jones

This is another excellent little monograph in the Oxford University Press series. Unlike one reviewer, I did not find Schopenhauer the easiest of German philosophers to study, even in translation. I did find Bryan Magee's book equally readable as this, but it is three times the length and is therefore obviously more detailed, as is Hamlyn's book for Routledge. The author here is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southampton and is an expert on Nietzsche and Schopenhauer.

This book begins with a synopsis of Schopenhauer's PhD thesis work, On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason - a ubiquitous principle in philosophy and science since Aristotle that everything must have a cause. His best known work is On the World as Will and Representation (WWR) that was much inspired by eastern mysticism: Janaway tells us how this came about and how it expands on Plato's world of Ideas, on Berkeley's `reality in perception' and on Kant's view of the numinous: `only the will is thing in itself . . . It appears in every blindly acting force of nature'. The identification of Wille with Kant's Ding-an-sich is one of Schopenhauer's great insights; but while Kant's ethics is an ethics of duty, Schopenhauer's ethics is an ethics of compassion.

The compatibility of Schopenhauer's ideas with the Noble Truths of Buddhism is illustrated by a quote: `as long as our consciousness is filled by our will . . . we never attain lasting happiness or peace.
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Format: Paperback
This is a dreadful account of Schopenhauer's philosophy. If you are coming to Schopenhauer WITHOUT having carefully read Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (which I don't recommend) you would do well to read Bryan Magee's `The Philosophy of Schopenhauer' as an appetiser, as this will set you on firm ground before reading The World as Will and Representation. I'm not going to subject people to a long and tedious essay on this introduction (Janaway's) so I will simply list various points that rankle or are flat out wrong.

(x) The tone of the book, on the whole, is RANK; it being a horrible mix of both pomposity and incredulity. It is the kind of attitude that is an anathema to honest philosophical enquiry and is out of place in an introductory text designed for a lay reader: "How are we to take this? If meant literally, it is merely embarrassing."

Such an attitude becomes even more inexplicable in light of 20th century science which presented us with a plethora of counter intuitive notions about the nature of the world; notions which, in their emphasis on the subjectivity of experience and the limits of human knowledge, took on a distinctly Kantian-Schopenhauerian flavour. The distorting of the perceptual form in Einstein's relativity, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, the wave-particle duality, Bell's theorem and the non-locality of space. Does sneering condescension befit such ideas? (whether you except these as explanations is a whole other matter) Janaway's attitude which seems to treat Schopenhauer as a relic of the past who is silly and inconsequential is utterly bizarre when physics has been moving in a generally Kantian-Schopenhauerian direction.
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