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Schopenhauer's Encounter with Indian ThoughtRepresentation and Will and Their Indian Parallels$
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Stephen Cross

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824837358

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824837358.001.0001

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The Ontological Status of Will

The Ontological Status of Will

(p.181) Chapter Fourteen The Ontological Status of Will
Schopenhauer's Encounter with Indian Thought

Stephen Cross

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the ontological status of Arthur Schopenhauer’s doctrine of the will. It begins by addressing the question that has dogged Schopenhauer’s philosophy: how the will can be said to deny itself. Schopenhauer argued that the denial of the will was an act of the intellect that had, in exceptional persons, somehow struggled free from the will that gave it birth. But since throughout his writings Schopenhauer insists that the intellect is “originally a mere instrument in the service of our will,” this argument has not seemed to convince many skeptics. This chapter considers whether the will, as conceived by Schopenhauer, is absolute and final reality, or whether self-denial of the will is a somewhat misleading figure of speech. In particular, it expounds on what Schopenhauer means by the term “thing-in-itself” as it relates to his doctrine of the will. It also discusses the ways in which Indian thought helps elucidate Schopenhauer’s difficulties concerning the relation of the will to ultimate reality.

Keywords:   ontological status, Arthur Schopenhauer, will, intellect, final reality, self-denial, thing-in-itself, Indian thought

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