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Schopenhauer and the Mystical Solution of the Riddle (MGM Chapter 3)

  • Mariëtte Willemsen
Chapter

Abstract

In Metaphysics as a guide to morals Arthur Schopenhauer is one of Iris Murdoch’s guiding stars. She explores and explains his philosophy in several chapters. A close reading of her comments on Schopenhauer, including her interpretation of Wittgenstein’s famous riddle, reveals her layered thoughts on his philosophical system. Although in general Murdoch is attracted by Schopenhauer’s ‘cheerful pessimism’, it turns out that she is critical of his deterministic world view, and of what she considers a rigid asceticism. Relatedly, she claims that there is a lack of scope for moral progress in Schopenhauer’s philosophy. However, it can be argued that Schopenhauer leaves more room for moral improvement than Murdoch acknowledges. His concept of compassion, understood as practical mysticism, hints at the possibility of moral development, in tune with Murdoch’s own line of thinking.

References

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mariëtte Willemsen
    • 1
  1. 1.Amsterdam University CollegeAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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