Monday, December 25, 2017

The Kantian Foundation of Schopenhauer's Pessimism (NDPR Review)

Dennis Vanden Auweele, The Kantian Foundation of Schopenhauer's Pessimism, Routledge, 2017, 242pp., $149.95 (hbk), ISBN 9781138744271.

Reviewed by Robert Wicks, The University of Auckland

The title of Dennis Vanden Auweele's book raises one's curiosity. As it tells us that Schopenhauer's pessimism has a Kantian foundation, it intimates that Kant's philosophy itself contains a pessimistic strand. This is unexpected, since pessimism does not appear to be a particularly Kantian quality. Kant's moral theory upholds the belief in individual freedom, the immortality of the soul, and the existence of an all-good, all-knowing, all-powerful God who serves to coordinate happiness with virtue in an ideal end-state. The book reminds us, though, that a pessimistic aspect of Kant resides in a position he maintained in the later part of his career -- one reminiscent of the Christian doctrine of original sin -- that rooted in the human being...

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