Arthur Schopenhauer


Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher known for his book The World as Will and Representation , which argued that human action was driven by unsatisfied will and ultimately lacked direction as well. He was a devotee of Plato and Immanuel Kant, and a rival of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. He was also known for his pessimistic views on human nature .

  • When was he born:  02/22/1788
  • Where he was born:  Gdansk, Poland
  • When he died:  09/21/1860
  • Where he died:  Free City of Frankfurt, present-day Germany

Who was Arthur Schopenhauer?

Arthur Schopenhauer was a renowned German philosopher who had pessimistic views on human nature and whose theories were influenced by the philosophies of Plato and Immanuel Kant , and his teachings led to a constant academic rivalry with Hegel .

  • ✅ Arthur Schopenhauer Biography
  • Thought of Arthur Schopenhauer
  • Ethics
  • Vitalism and historicism
  • Importance of Arthur Schopenhauer
  • Works by Arthur Schopenhauer
  • Phrases
  • Curiosities

 Arthur Schopenhauer Biography

Arthur Schopenhauer was born in Danzig, Poland , on February 22, 1788. He  was the descendant of two wealthy German families. His parents moved to Hamburg after Prussia annexed Danzig in 1793. Schopenhauer’s father died in 1805, possibly as a result of suicide . His mother , Johanna, was a writer and intellectual who started a literary salon in Weimar after her husband’s death.


Schopenhauer enrolled at the University of Göttingen in 1809 where he focused on studying philosophy , studying the ideas of Plato and Immanuel Kant . In 1819, Schopenhauer published The World as Will and Representation, a book that would establish his career as a philosopher . Subsequently, he accepted a position at the University of Berlin , where he had rivalries with his lecturer Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel that eventually expelled him from the academic world.

This conflict affected Schopenhauer beyond his professional life. While living in Berlin , he was convicted of assaulting a woman named Caroline Marquet after she refused to leave his door, and had to make payments to Marquet for the rest of her life.

In 1833 , Schopenhauer moved to Frankfurt after a cholera outbreak in Berlin. He lived alone there for the next three decades, accompanied by poodles and cats. His writings on aging were published under the title Senilia . Arthur Schopenhauer died of heart failure on September 21, 1860 , at the age of 72, at his home in Frankfurt.

Thought of Arthur Schopenhauer

Arthur Schopenhauer was one of the first philosophers to declare himself an atheist to the world and for this reason he was considered one of the most pessimistic in the entire history of philosophy . He thought that man was not only unhappy , but also the only thing he could usually find was unhappiness . The essence that man had was the will and the essence of this will was the tendency to a certain object , for this reason he thought that man was always looking for something and could never reach the goal.full satisfaction . For Schopenhauer there were three different things that could be done to alleviate unhappiness, seek beauty , mercy to mitigate pain, and ascetic exercises to repress one’s will.


His ethics were pessimistic and closed towards a behavior that guided us to have a certain way of acting and seeing life, so that, if there was a difficult situation, we could not rescue the good part or focus on seeing that situation in a different way. positive, then we would have a pessimistic behavior .

Vitalism and historicism

The vitalism and historicism emerged centuries ago as two currents of thought which are able to develop at the end of the nineteenth century. These two currents were characterized by the exaltation of force and by the importance they gave to the irrational instincts of life, since this constitutes the basic and fundamental reality that can explain the other realities. The vitalicismo considered life from a point of view individually and historicism , he was more interested in the life of humanity in his passage through history.

Importance of Arthur Schopenhauer

The main importance that Schopenhauer had is that he introduced the antecedents to genealogical thought , which was quite developed during the nineteenth century with Nietzsche, Marx and Freud. His attacks against reason managed to remove the mask from a large number of dreams in the century of lights to give way to a new way of seeing and understanding the world .

His legacy can also be seen in 20th century literature which was greatly influenced by Schopenhauer’s ideas, and many of these authors have been awarded the Nobel Prize for their writing.

Works by Arthur Schopenhauer

His most important works were:

  • Eristic dialectic or the art of being right : this work was exhibited in 38 different stratagems and it was a treatise that was based on the main themes that Aristotle had.
  • The art of being happy : a book that explained 50 different rules for living , was never finished and was based on ideas that the car had based on a series of personal motivations where he conceives the idea of happiness as an impossible goal to achieve for the human being, and sees it as a euphemism within the pessimistic metaphysical perspective .
  • The world as will and representation : one of its main and elaborate manifestations of the pessimism that Schopenhauer had and tells us about the limitation of knowledge that man has, of the subject , the object, space, time and chance.
  • Parerga y paralipómena : it was his last work and in it he spoke of aphorisms to obtain wisdom on how to live.
  • On the fourfold root of the principle of sufficient reason : it was an essay on the classical principle of sufficient reason .
  • On the will in nature : it focused on the natural world and the will that guides the behavior of organisms in their life cycle and the way in which this governs the behavior of the universe.


Among his most important and recognized phrases we mention:

  • The happiness is merely the absence of pain.
  • There are beings of whom it is not conceivable how they come to walk on two legs , although that does not mean much.
  • The loneliness is the fate of all great spirits.
  • The religions , like fireflies, need darkness to shine.
  • There is no favorable wind for those who do not know which port they are going to.
  • Life is just death postponed .
  • Man has made the Earth a hell for animals .
  • Each game is an anticipation of death and each encounter an anticipation of resurrection .
  • Common men only think about how to pass the time. An intelligent man tries to take advantage of it.


Some curiosities of Arthur Schopenhauer are the following:

  • He was very despised by his mother since he was born.
  • For Schopenhauer, love at first sight was nothing more than the instinct that tells us that with that particular person a quality being can be procreated for the next generation.
  • When he went to lunch at a place known as the Englischer Hof, Arthur Schopenhauer used to order two meals to make sure no one sat next to him.
  • When he died, he appeared on his couch and curiously, despite being so negative, he had a big smile on his face .

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