FORM OF PLEASURE II

CONTRA EL PESIMISMO Y CONTRA SCHOPENHAUER

 

 

 

 

Kant

I begin with a brief review of the central themes of Kant’s aesthetics that will be relevant to what follows. Kant begins from the challenge posed by mid-century aesthetic theory, for example by Hume’s essay ‘Of the Standard of Taste’:

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WILL AND REPRESENTATION II

PARALIPOMENA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Third Book of The World as Will and Representation Schopenhauer presents his account of aesthetic experience. Here the notion of a transformedconsciousness that removes us from the everyday concerns of the will is at its clearest, as is the Platonic ancestry of Schopenhauer’s thought. In aesthetic experience we perceive timeless Ideas, a series of grades at which the will manifests itself throughout nature.

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WILL AND REPRESENTATION

PARERGA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friedrich Nietzsche once commented that Schopenhauer showed ‘great knowledge ability about the human and all-too-human’ and had a ‘native sense of reality’, all of which was ‘not a little dimmed by the motley leopard-skin of his metaphysics (which one must first remove from him if one is to discover the real moralist genius beneath it).’

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PROCESO DE DESTRUCCIÓN

MAINLANDER-234

 

 

 

 

 

 

De lo anterior se desprende una cosmovisión que concibe la historia universal como la oscura agonía de los fragmentos que correspondieron a un Dios y que apela, debido a ello, a la destrucción del mundo y del yo para acelerar el proceso de destrucción.

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THE NEGATIVE ONTOLOGY OF HAPPINESS:EUDAIMONIA

EUDAIMONIA

 

 

 

 

 

 

One might wonder why the above matters—after all, one might simply concede the argument and leave it at that. However, it does matter in a lot of discussions of value, in which happiness and suffering are of import, especially if either of these is valued as categorically “bad” or “good”. But let us examine some examples to make this more clear:

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THE NEGATIVE ONTOLOGY OF HAPPINESS:POSODYNIK-EUKOLOS-DYSKOLOS

POSODYNIK-EUKOLOS-DYSKOLOS

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. The definitions of “happiness” and “suffering” are either not broad enough or too broad, too vague, or only of subjective worth.

As for the first of these objections that the concepts here are too broad, I do not think this to be the case (but see the next objection).

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THE NEGATIVE ONTOLOGY OF HAPPINESS:SOLITUDE EMPTINESS NOTHINGNESS

SOLITUDE EMPTINESS  NOTHINGNESS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Phenomenological knowledge must necessarily be knowledge of something, it cannot come from nothing at all.

This seems to be the most intuitively valid criticism — after all, emotions are usually said to have an object to which they react, such as an object of love. The wide variety of happiness therefore cannot merely be “relief” from forms of suffering, but must also be able to be oriented towards an object in the world, of which it represents a kind of reaction to, or knowledge of.

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THE NEGATIVE ONTOLOGY OF HAPPINESS:DEFINITIONS OF SUFFERING AND HAPPINESS

THE NEGATIVE ONTOLOGY OF HAPPINESS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We should first define our terms, to not only limit the scope of the argument, but also to clarify what Schopenhauer exactly means. It should first be said that he does not mean “good” or “bad”, which Schopenhauer defines as being that which feels good or useful (or rather, what the will desires) in the case of the former, as well as that which is bad (what the will wishes to avoid or what displeases it) in the case of the latter.

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THE NEGATIVE ONTOLOGY OF HAPPINESS:DESIRE-PAIN AND BOREDOM

THE NEGATIVE ONTOLOGY OF HAPPINESS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We now come to Schopenhauer’s main argument against the existence of happiness

All fulfilment, or what is generally known as happiness, is actually and inherently always only

negative and not positive. It is never original, coming from itself as joy, but must always be the

fulfilment of a desire. For desire, i.e. lack, is the prior prerequisite of every pleasure. But with

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THE NEGATIVE OF HAPPINESS

THE NEGATIVE ONTOLOGY OF HAPPINESS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IN ONE OF HIS MOST ILLUMINATING OBSERVATIONS ON HUMAN EXISTENCE, ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER MADE THE CASE THAT THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A “POSITIVE” HAPPINESS, OR, TO PUT IT ANOTHER WAY, THAT HAPPINESS IS SOMETHING THAT EXISTS, IN ITSELF, WITH DEFINITIVE CHARACTERISTICS OR QUALITIES. RATHER, HAPPINESS IS NEGATIVE, DEFINED BY THE ABSENCE OF SUFFERING, PAIN, AND DESPAIR. SUCH A POSITION IS CRITICAL TO SCHOPENHAUER’S PHILOSOPHICAL PESSIMISM.

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