Schopenhauer argues, strikingly, that it would have been better if life had not come into existence. In this essay I consider this pessimistic judgment from a philosophical perspective. I take on the following three tasks. First, I consider whether such judgments, apparently products of temperament rather than reason, can be the subject of productive philosophical analysis. I argue that they can be, since, importantly, we can separate arguments for such judgments that establish them as plausible from those that do not. Second, I evaluate Schopenhauer’s arguments for pessimism. I argue that although we must reject Schopenhauer’s main argument for pessimism, he has another, more plausible argument for pessimism that hitherto has been neglected by scholars. Finally, I argue that although pessimism can be established as the correct judgment about life in some possible worlds, in our world the question of pessimism or optimism cannot be definitively answered.
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Schopenhauer's Pessimism.Christopher Janaway - 1999 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 44:47-63.
Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Death and Salvation.Julian Young - 2008 - European Journal of Philosophy 16 (2):311-324.

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