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Schopenhauer prize essay on the basis of morals

Schopenhauer's Ethics: Compassion

Ueber die Grundlage der Moral, 1840 is one of Arthur Schopenhauer 's major works in ethicsin which he argues that morality stems from compassion. Schopenhauer begins with a criticism of Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Moralswhich Schopenhauer considered to be the clearest explanation of Kantian ethics.

The question was, "Are the source and foundation of morals to be looked for in an idea of morality lying immediately in consciousness or conscience and in the analysis of other fundamental moral concepts springing from that idea, or are they to be looked for in a different ground of knowledge? Schopenhauer submitted the only entry to the contest in July 1839, but wasn't awarded the prize.

  • Jean Jacques Rousseau in his Emile Bk;
  • In other words, Schopenhauer does not follow Kant completely in this respect;
  • Schopenhauer does not admit this directly, but he makes a claim that can be interpreted in this direction;
  • The first section is an introduction in which Schopenhauer provides his account of the question posed by the Royal Danish Society as the subject of a "prize essay" and his interpretation of the history of western ethics;
  • Consequently, the overcoming of this powerful incentive presents itself as a condition for a morally praiseworthy action.

On January 17, 1840, the society published a response to the essay, in which they refused to present him with the prize, claiming that he had misunderstood the question. Schopenhauer on the preface of the essay's publication went on to analyze the original question and preamble, later stating "I have proved incontrovertibly that the Royal Danish Society really did ask what it denies having asked; and on the contrary that it did not ask what it claims to have asked, and indeed could not even have asked it.

On the Basis of Morality

In response Schopenhauer, outraged, says that "These 'distinguished philosophers' are in fact — Fichte and Hegel! On a copy of his Two Essays, on the title, Schopenhauer wrote that the judge of the essay in Copenhagen had been a Hegelian academic, author of a Hegelian theory of morals and later a bishop, making it very improbable that he would have been awarded a prize. The first section is an introduction in which Schopenhauer provides his account of the question posed by the Royal Danish Society and his interpretation of the history of western ethics.

In the second section, Schopenhauer embarks on a criticism of Kantian ethicswhich he viewed as the orthodoxy in ethics.

The third section of the work is Schopenhauer's positive construction of his own ethical theory. The final section of the work provides a brief description of the metaphysical foundations of ethics.

Publication history

Morality's foundation Religions have promised a reward after death if a person behaved well. Governmental laws are motives for good behavior because they promise earthly rewards and punishments.

  1. In addition, he also denies that history evolves teleologically, guided by some kind of intelligence. The first section is an introduction in which Schopenhauer provides his account of the question posed by the Royal Danish Society as the subject of a "prize essay" and his interpretation of the history of western ethics.
  2. How can that which affects another for good or bad become my immediate motive, and actually sometimes assume such importance that it more or less supplants my own interests, which are, as a rule, the single source of the incentives that appeal to me?
  3. In his view, an act cannot have moral value if it is in any way egoistic; and he regarded Kant's categorical imperative act as if your action should be the basis of a univeral law; or, "do as you would be done by" as egoistic. In the second section, Schopenhauer embarks on a criticism of Kantian ethics , which he viewed as the orthodoxy in ethics.
  4. But as this demonstration requires several fundamental truths to be borne in mind, the reader's attention is first called to certain propositions which we must presuppose, and which may properly be considered as axioms; except the last two, which result from the analysis contained in the preceding chapter and in Part II, Chapter III. The third section of the work from which this extract and those that follow it have been drawn is Schopenhauer's positive construction of his own ethical theory.
  5. Considero que una estrategia general para disolver esta paradoja consiste en adscribir a Schopenhauer dos sentidos dife- rentes con que emplea el concepto de felicidad. II n'est pas de vrais plaisirs, qu'avec de vrais besoms.

Kant 's Categorical imperative claimed that a person's own behavior should be in accordance with a universal law. All of these, however, are ultimately founded on selfish egoism. Only insofar as an action has sprung from compassion does it have moral value; and every action resulting from any other motives has none. Even though the sufferer is experienced as an external being, "I nevertheless feel it with him, feel it as my own, and not within me, but in another person… But this presupposes that to a certain extent I have identified myself with the other man, and in consequence the barrier between the ego and the non—ego is for the moment abolished….

Everything is a manifestation of what is commonly called willthat is, urge, desire, striving, force, or energy.

Schopenhauer's Ethics: Compassion

Kant's merit Schopenhauer declared that the true basis of morality is compassion or sympathy. By drawing the distinction between egoism and unselfishness, Kant correctly described the criterion of morality. In the introduction, p.

  1. If we pay attention to the way he articulates words when referring to the hedonistic account of happiness, he employs impersonal expres- 23 The World as Will and Representation, Vol. We thus see why need or desire is the condition of every pleasure.
  2. Similarly, no action can be left undone, when, given the character of the doer, a sufficient motive is present; unless a stronger counter-motive necessarily prevents it. In consequence of my elimination in Part II, Chapter III, of alleged duties towards ourselves, the moral significance of our conduct can only lie in the effect produced upon others; its relation to the latter is alone that which lends it moral worth, or worthlessness, and constitutes it an act of justice, loving-kindness, etc.
  3. However, we have not yet mentioned the way in which he understands such concept, being a question of the utmost importance, since he defines egoism as the drive to existence and well-being or hap- piness In consequence, the good character transcends the empirical standpoint along with its two correlative aspects, namely.

For tacitly underlying it is the condition that the law to be laid down for my action, since I raise it to one that is universal, also becomes the law for my suffering…. Cartwright, Journal of the History of Ideas, 1984.

Translated by Jonathan F. Schopenhauer, Arthur ; translation, E.

Payne ; introduction, David E. On the basis of morality. The basis of morality.