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Title: Schopenhauer's Spinozism
Author: Bunker, Jenny
ISNI:       0000 0004 5364 5128
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis investigates Schopenhauer's Spinozism in relation to the topics of the self and ethics. It aims to show that a recognition of the parallels between the two philosophers is illuminating in terms of understanding and interpreting Schopenhauer’s philosophy. Such a recognition brings to the fore philosophical resources in his system which are otherwise under-exploited, helps to solve interpretive puzzles and provides a new vocabulary with which to more adequately delineate key Schopenhauerian concepts. Chapters one and two address the metaphysics of the self in the philosophies of Schopenhauer and Spinoza, arguing that neither thinker accepts the Cartesian dogma that the self is to be identified with the mind; each insists upon the self’s embodiment and its integration into reality at large. Each, too, offers an explanation of how, in spite of this, individuals can be picked out both physically (within the spatio-temporal realm) and in virtue of their possession of an eternal nature or essence. A comparative analysis of these explanations forms the basis of the second chapter. The thesis then turns to the subject of ethics and salvation. Chapter three shows that their shared determinism bequeaths Schopenhauer and Spinoza a common problem regarding the viability of practical ethics. It demonstrates that Schopenhauer’s philosophy boasts the resources for an ethics along the lines of Spinoza’s and that his rejection of them generates explanatory and metaphysical puzzles for the Schopenhauerian. Both systems culminate in an account of blessedness or salvation. The final chapter proposes that the differences between these accounts are best understood in the light of Schopenhauer’s epistemological and metaphysical pessimism – and again, enumerates some of the challenges that result for an interpreter of his philosophy. The thesis concludes with an indication of further work which could usefully be performed both in terms of interpreting Schopenhauer’s philosophy and of situating it with reference to established philosophical traditions.
Supervisor: Neill, Alexander Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: B Philosophy (General)