Philosophy – A Guide to Happiness: Schopenhauer on Love

Narrated by Alain de Botton, this is one of 6 parts in the series, Philosophy – A Guide To Happiness. This episode is on Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 – 1860), a German philosopher known for his atheistic pessimism and philosophical clarity. At age 25, he published his doctoral dissertation, On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which examined the fundamental question of whether reason alone can unlock answers about the world.

Schopenhauer’s most influential work, The World as Will and Representation, emphasized the role of man’s basic motivation, which Schopenhauer called will. His analysis of will led him to the conclusion that emotional, physical, and sexual desires can never be fulfilled. Consequently, he favored a lifestyle of negating human desires, similar to the teachings of Buddhism and Vedanta. (24:05 min)

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5 Responses

  1. ann says:

    i must come back and watch this…i googled him and he is a bit of an odd bird…hehe, this one quote stuck with me:
    “Schopenhauer settled permanently in Frankfurt in 1833, where he remained for the next twenty-seven years, living alone except for a succession of pet poodles named Atma and Butz.”

  2. shapeshift says:

    Yes, as narrator Alain de Botton says, Schopenhauer is an strange choice to listen to about love… but goes on to explain the positive lessons we can pull from Schopenhauer’s work.

  3. CS says:

    Hmmm…I don’t know if I totally buy into Schopenhauer’s philosophy on love. I know that there is a primal, biological need for us to propagate but I think he has broken love down to the last denominator and in the process kind of devalued the rich and complex array of human emotions that make us different from animals – love also satisfies our spiritual needs, not just the deep-down-inside-I want-to-have-children desire/sub-consciousness. :)

  4. CS says:

    *Procreate*…oops. Are we plants now. :)

  5. shapeshift says:

    I think Alain de Botton used propagate.

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