Schopenhauer og livskunst

Studenteropgave: Speciale (inkl. HD afgangsprojekt)

  • Gustav Alexander Østeraa
4. semester, Anvendt Filosofi, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
Abstract
This dissertation examines whether it is possible to discover an art of living by using Arthur Schopenhauer’s thoughts on aesthetics and art to interpret his thoughts on the denial of the will and asceticism. First the dissertation introduces who Schopenhauer was and what impact he has had. Afterwards an account of Schopenhauer’s philosophy that first focuses on his understanding of the world as what he calls ‘representation’ and ‘will’, is presented. The world as representation is the world as the subject perceives it while the will is explained as a blind striving, that underlies all objects in the representation. A useful distinction is also made between a ‘small will’ and a ‘big will’. This is not Schopenhauer’s own distinction. It is also explained that the will causes suffering. Life is made up of suffering and boredom.
The dissertation then gives an account of Schopenhauer’s thoughts on aesthetics and art. This has to do with becoming a pure knowing subject, where you perceive the platonic ideas of the object. In the art you gain knowledge of the idea and works of art repeat it. A beautiful object is an object that makes it easy to apprehend the idea it represents. The difference between the beautiful and the sublime is that you have to consciously detach yourself when something is sublime as this has to do with an object that threatens the will. The dissertation then explains Schopenhauer’s thoughts on denial and affirmation of the will and also his thoughts on asceticism. The will itself is free and must choose to deny itself.
Afterwards the dissertation focuses on some of Friedrich Nietzsche’s criticisms of Schopenhauer. He makes a point that the definition of beauty as having to do with what brings pleasure absent of interest still involves an interest, namely the interest in escaping torture. The dissertation then explains Nietzsche’s own thoughts on aesthetics and art. Martha Nussbaum’s interpretations of Nietzsche are especially called upon in this section.
The following section focuses on the implications of ‘disinterestedness’ in the aesthetic experience that Schopenhauer (and also Kant) advocated. This is done by referring to some points made by Daniel Came who argues that there is significant phenomenological insight to be gained from Schopenhauer’s definition of aesthetics with its focus on disinterestedness. He also argues that Nietzsche isn’t justified in interpreting disinterestedness as an acetic notion. It seems correct that Schopenhauer’s understanding of aesthetics and art can be separated from his view on asceticism and denial of the will.
The next section argues that there is both positive and negative pleasure in the aesthetic experience. This is done by referring to Paul Guyer. He also argues that there is a third pleasure that has to do with an identity with reality that is acknowledged.
Afterwards the dissertation shows that Schopenhauer’s thoughts on aesthetics and art can be used to interpret his thoughts on asceticism and denial of the will. By doing this an art of living is discovered where the asceticism is a condition for obtaining the pleasure of the aesthetic experience and an identification with the big will.
The dissertation then puts the art of living into perspective, by discussing it in relation to Svend Brinkmann’s book Stå Fast: Et opgør med tidens udviklingstvang. The art of living suggests that people should practice not wanting too much and be disinterested.
It is concluded that it is possible to separate Schopenhauer’s thoughts on aesthetics and art from his thoughts on denial of the will and asceticism. However it is also concluded that it is possible to discover an art of living by interpreting Schopenhauer’s thoughts on denial of the will and asceticism on the grounds of his thoughts on aesthetics and art. The art of living has some similarities to Brinkmann’s approach but it also differs from it.
SprogDansk
Udgivelsesdato31 maj 2016
ID: 234365216