Schopenhauer on Scientific Knowledge
In Bart Vandenabeele (ed.), A Companion to Schopenhauer (Blackwell Companions to Philosophy). Wiley-Blackwell (2012)
Philosophy is for Schopenhauer not a sort of scientific pursuit nor is science a sort of philosophical pursuit, and it is in this context that he propounds his view of scientific knowledge and of knowledge in general. Those few philosophers who have given it proper consideration, notably Gardiner (1967) and Hamlyn (1980, 1999), and more recently Young (2005), have pointed out that Schopenhauer's view presents some serious, seemingly insurmountable, difficulties. In this chapter I try to redress the balance by arguing that Schopenhauer can be credited with a coherent and viable, in some respects indeed very perceptive view of (scientific) knowledge once a couple of misconceptions, which are the source of these difficulties but which are neither required by this view nor are of any use to it, are disposed of. I offer instead some adequate replacements which are to its benefit, much as they are in line with the overall framework and the objectives of his philosophy. This will also enable us to assess this view in the context of the debates that have emerged in the modern-day philosophy of science and epistemology.
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