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Arthur Schopenhauer, 1855.—Archiv für Kunst und Geschichte, Berlin
(born Feb. 22, 1788, Danzig, Prussiadied Sept. 21, 1860, Frankfurt am Main) German philosopher. His father was a banker and his mother a novelist. He studied in several fields before earning his doctorate in philosophy. He regarded the Upanishads, together with the works of Plato and Immanuel Kant, as the foundation of his philosophical system, a metaphysical doctrine of the will developed in reaction to the idealism of G.W.F. Hegel. His magnum opus, The World as Will and Representation (1819), consists of two comprehensive series of reflections on the theory of knowledge and the philosophy of nature, aesthetics, and ethics. By turning away from spirit and reason to the powers of intuition, creativity, and the irrational, he influenced (partly via Friedrich Nietzsche) the ideas and methods of vitalism, life philosophy, existentialism, and anthropology. His other works include On the Will in Nature (1836), The Two Main Problems of Ethics (1841), and Parerga and Paralipomena (1851). An unhappy and solitary man, his works earned him the sobriquet the philosopher of pessimism.
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