Schopenhauer on inner awareness and world-understanding

British Journal for the History of Philosophy 31 (5):1005-1027 (2023)
  Copy   BIBTEX


I argue against a prevailing interpretation of Schopenhauer’s account of inner awareness and world-understanding. Because scholars have typically taken on board the assumption that inner awareness is non-representational, they have concerned themselves in the main with how to transfer this immediate cognition of will in ourselves and apply it to our understanding of the world–as–representation. Some scholars propose that the relation of the world-as-will to the world-as-representation is to be understood in figurative or metaphorical terms. I disagree because, for Schopenhauer, inner awareness reveals a genuine philosophical truth. Some scholars also suggest that it is only via analogical transference that one can interpret the world as having the same inner nature as oneself. I disagree and point out the downside of this suggestion. I use both textual evidence and general philosophical considerations to demonstrate that inner awareness, for Schopenhauer, has a representational dimension. Overlooking this point has led scholars to misconstrue how inner awareness relates to world-understanding. I provide an alternative interpretation against figurative and analogical readings. I propose that, for Schopenhauer, we cognize partially a priori that all things are merely different expressions of the same activity that we are acquainted with in inner awareness.

Similar books and articles

Social critique and aesthetics in Schopenhauer.Paul Bishop - 2003 - History of European Ideas 29 (4):411-435.
Schopenhauer and Krausz on Objects of Interpretation.Arati Barua - 2005 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 12 (1):33-37.
The essential Schopenhauer.Arthur Schopenhauer - 1962 - New York,: Barnes & Noble.
Self and world in Schopenhauer's philosophy.Christopher Janaway - 1989 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Problems and interpretations of Schopenhauer’s World as Will and Representation.Jens Lemanski & Daniel Schubbe - 2019 - Voluntas: Revista Internacional de Filosofia 10 (1):199-211.
Philosophical writings.Arthur Schopenhauer - 1994 - New York: Continuum. Edited by Wolfgang Schirmacher.
Schopenhauer on Aesthetic Understanding and the Values of Art.Bart Vandenabeele - 2008 - European Journal of Philosophy 16 (2):194-210.
Willing and Unwilling. [REVIEW]Joan Jungbluth - 1988 - Review of Metaphysics 42 (2):417-419.
The Philosophy of Schopenhauer.Dale Jacquette - 2005 - Chesham, Bucks [UK]: Mcgill-Queen's University Press.


Added to PP

681 (#23,458)

6 months
460 (#3,455)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Vasfi Onur Özen
Koc University

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Prize essay on the freedom of the will.Arthur Schopenhauer - 1999 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Günter Zöller.
The Philosophy of Schopenhauer.Dale Jacquette - 2005 - Chesham, Bucks [UK]: Mcgill-Queen's University Press.
The Philosophy of Schopenhauer.Dole Jacquette - 2005 - Chesham, Bucks [UK]: Routledge.

View all 9 references / Add more references