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The World as Will and Representation, Vol. 2

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The World as Will and Representation, Vol. 2.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Arthur Schopenhauer(Author),E. F. J. Payne(Translator)

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Arthur Schopenhauer's Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung is one of the most important philosophical works of the 19th century, the basic statement of one important stream of post-Kantian thought. It is without question Schopenhauer's greatest work, and, conceived and published before the philosopher was 30 and expanded 25 years later, it is the summation of a lifetime of thought.
For 70 years, the only unabridged English translation of this work was the Haldane-Kemp collaboration. In 1958, a new translation by E. F. J. Payne appeared which decisively supplanted the older one. Payne's translation is superior because it corrects nearly 1,000 errors and omissions in the Haldane-Kemp translation, and it is based on the definitive 1937 German edition of Schopenhauer's work prepared by Dr. Arthur Hübscher. Payne's edition is the first to translate into English the text's many quotatioins in half a dozen languages, and Mr. Payne has provided a comprehensive index of 2,500 items. It is thus the most useful edition for the student or teacher.

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Review Text

  • By Ross James Browne on March 11, 2003

    ...As if there wasn't enough already. If you have a huge surplus of time and mental energy, you will probably find Schopenhaur to be somewhat stimulating and thought-provoking. However, the average American will find this to be useless psychobabble. In reading this book, I often found myself pondering for an extensive period of time over each one of Schopenhaur's long-winded and complicated sentences. Eventually I would paraphrase and reconstruct the sentence in my head to try to figure out what the author was trying to say, only to find out that the sentence was nothing more than a platitude - an obvious truism. Schopenhaur forces the reader to go to an extrordinary amount of trouble digesting his opaque writing style, only to find the underlying concepts to be downright simplistic. This book is difficult only because of poor execution and obfiscation of basic concepts. If I am going to suffer this much to get through a book, I would prefer that I learn about some truly profound and life-changing theoretical concepts. _The World as Will and Representation_ provides some valuble insights, but not enough to justify the effort to get through. Like I said, if the difficulty arises from intrinsically complicated content, I am willing to put up with it. But in this case the difficulty arises from a combination of poor writing and mediocre translation, and these are precisely the types of books you should avoid.

  • By Steven H Propp on September 24, 2014

    Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) was a German philosopher; the companion volume to this book is The World as Will and Representation, Vol. 2. Schopenhauer wrote other works such as Essays and Aphorisms,Essay on the Freedom of the Will,On the Basis of Morality,On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, etc. [NOTE: page numbers refer to the 534-page Dover paperback edition.]He wrote in the Preface to the first (1818) edition, "What is to be imparted by [the book] is a single thought. Yet in spite of all my efforts, I have not been able to find a shorter way of imparting that thought than the whole of this book... no advice can be given other than to read the book twice, and to do so the first time with much patience... The second demand is that the introduction be read before the book itself... [which] appeared five years previously under the title On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason. Without an acquaintance with this introduction ... it is quite impossible to understand the present work properly..." (Pg. xii-xiv) In his Preface to the Second Edition, he said, "to mankind I consign my now complete work, confident that it will not be without value to humanity, even if this value should be recognized only tardily... I long ago renounced the approbation of my contemporaries. It is impossible that an age which for twenty years has extolled a Hegel, that intellectual Caliban, as the greatest of philosophers so loudly that the echo was heard throughout Europe, could make the man who looked at this eager for its approbation...(Pg. xviii, xxi)He begins this 1818 book with the statement, "`The world is my representation': this is a truth valid with reference to every living and knowing being, although man alone can bring it into reflective, abstract consciousness. If he really does so, philosophical discernment has dawned on him. It then becomes clear and certain to him that he does not know a sun and an earth, but only an eye that sees a sun, a hand that feels an earth; that the world around him is there only as representation, in other words, only in reference to another thing, namely that which represents, and this is himself." (Pg. 3) Later, he adds, "the meaning that I am looking for of the world that stands before me simply as my representation... could never be found if the investigator himself were nothing more than the purely knowing subject... But he himself is rooted in that world... as an individual... his knowledge... is nevertheless given entirely through the medium of a body... this body is given in two entirely different ways. It is given in intelligent perception as representation... But it is also given ... as what is known immediately to everyone, and is denoted by the word `will.' ... The action of the body is nothing but the act of will objectified, i.e., translated into perception." (§18, Pg. 99-100)He goes on, "as to the groundlessness of the will itself, the necessity to which its phenomenon is everywhere liable has been overlooked, and actions have been declared to be free, which they are not. For every individual action follows with strict necessity from the effect of the motive on the character... the individual, the person, is not will as thing-in-itself, but is PHENOMENON of the will is as such determined, and has entered the form of the phenomenon, the principle of sufficient reason. Hence we get the strange fact that everyone considers himself to be a prior quite free, even in his individual actions, and imagines he can at any moment enter upon a different way of life... But a posteriori through experience, he finds to his astonishment that he is not free, but liable to necessity... from the beginning to the end of his life he... must play to the end of the part he has taken upon himself." (§23, pg. 113-114) He states, "every individual phenomenon of nature is determined by a sufficient cause as regards its appearance in such a place and at such a time, but the force manifesting itself in this phenomenon has in general no cause, for such a force is a stage of appearance of the thing-in-itself, of the grounding will. The sole self-knowledge of the will as a whole is the representation as a whole, the whole world of perception. It is the objectivity, the revelation, and mirror of the will. What is expresses in this capacity will be the subject of our further consideration." (§29, pg. 165)He observes of perceptual consciousness, "We LOSE ourselves entirely in this object... we forget our individuality, our will, and continue to exist only as pure subject, as clear mirror of the object... thus we are no longer able to separate the perceiver from the perception, but the two have become one... the subject has passed out of all relation to the will, what is thus known is no longer the individual thing as such, but the IDEA, the eternal form, the immediate objectivity of the will at this grade... the individual has lost himself' he is PURE will-less, painless, timeless subject of knowledge." (§34, pg. 178-179)He says, "That generation and death are to be regarded as something belonging to life, and essential to this phenomenon of the will, arises also from the fact that they both exhibit themselves merely as the higher powers of expression of that in which all the rest of life consists. This is everywhere nothing but a constant change of matter under a fixed permanence of form; and this is precisely the transitoriness of individuals and the imperishableness of the species... As for the individual consciousness bound to the individual body, it is completely interrupted every day by sleep. Deep sleep, while it lasts, is in no way different from death... Death is a sleep in which individuality is forgotten, everything else awakens again, or rather has remained awake." (§54, pg. 277-278) He adds, "whoever is oppressed by the burdens of life... and in particular can no longer endure the hard lot that has fallen to just him, cannot hope for deliverance from death, and cannot save himself through suicide... the individual dies; but the sun itself burns without intermission... suicide already appears to us to be a vain and therefore a foolish action." (§54, pg. 280-281)He summarizes, "We have long since recognized this striving... as the same thing that in us... is called WILL. We call its hindrance through an obstacle placed between it and its temporary goal, SUFFERING... We see these involved in constant suffering and without any lasting happiness. For all striving springs from want or deficiency, from dissatisfaction with one's own state or condition, and is therefore suffering so long as it is not satisfied... Thus that there is no ultimate aim of striving means that there is no measure or end of suffering... we wish to consider in human existence the inner and essential destiny of the will. Everyone will readily find the same thing once more in the life of the animal, only more feebly expressed in various degrees. He can also sufficiently convince himself in the suffering animal world how essentially ALL LIFE IS SUFFERING." (§56, pg. 309-310)He elaborates, "the sufferings and afflictions of life can easily grown to such an extent that even death... becomes desirable, and a man voluntarily hastens to it... it is worth noting that, as soon as want and suffering give man a relaxation, boredom is at once so near that he necessarily requires diversion and amusement. The striving after existence is what occupies all living things, and keeps them in motion... In middle-class life boredom is represented by the Sunday, just as want is represented by the six weekdays." (§57, pg. 313) He notes, "The ceaseless efforts to banish suffering achieve nothing more than a change in its form... if it cannot find entry in any other shape, it comes in the sad, grey garment of weariness, satiety, and boredom... Even if we ultimately succeed in driving these away, it will hardly be done without letting pain in again in one of the previous forms, and thus starting the dance once more from the beginning; for every human life is tossed backwards and forwards between pain and boredom." (§57, pg. 315)Schopenhauer's philosophy (heavily influenced by Buddhism, as it was known in Europe in the early 19th century) is deeply pessimistic; but it is also clearly (and sometimes eloquently) stated, which makes it a welcome change from the turgid prose of a Hegel.

  • By Erasmus on March 21, 2014

    At the beginning of WWR Vol. I Schopenhauer recommends reading Kant's 'A Critique of Pure Reason' (Schopenhauer insists you read the first edition; no others), than read his 'Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason', then finally read 'The World as Will and Representation' through twice, cover to cover. Schopenhauer essentially presents the fundamental concepts regarding his ideas in WWR Vol. I, expands upon them further in WWR Vol. II with real world examples, and then goes even further in the 'Parerga and Paralipomena' and his other ancillary writings ('On the Basis of Morality', etc.).I'm usually exhausted from work, so trying to follow pages worth of complex ideas is difficult (it's not that they can't be followed, it just takes more effort than I was willing to put in. Besides, have you ever tried to read Kant?). So I took the opposite approach from what Schopenhaer suggested; I basically started with the end of WWR Vol. II (section IV of this book) and am going through the process backwards, selectively reading chapters that sound interesting. I've found that this, supplemented with a Wikipedia article or two on Kantian terminology has been more than sufficient. I find the essays in sections III and IV of this second volume very easy to follow. I actually keep this book by my bedside, and read portions of it on a regular basis. I've actually memorized entire portions (it's that good).The best essay (which is very short) is 'On the Affirmation of the Will-to-Live'. It's only about 5 pages, and contains gems like, "Therefore because the [parent] has enjoyed sensual pleasure, the [child] must live, suffer, and die." Truer words have never been spoken.Schopenhauer also delivers a blistering condemnation of modern Protestantism, I believe it's in "The Doctrine of the Denial of the Will-to-Live". Schopenhauer is widely renowned for being an atheist, but I would actually argue he was a Christian, in the allegorical sense (he actually says in the 'Parerga and Paralipomena' that his philosophy is Christian philosophy proper). I have a small library on Gnosticism, and if you read the essays in section IV of this book and compare them with the Biblical Gospels and gnostic ideology (such as that laid out by Hans Jonas in 'The Gnostic Religion') it may alter your views on just what Christianity is.It also bears mentioning that I've found E.F.J. Payne's translations to be superior to those of others, which is no doubt why they are the official English translations selected by the Schopenhauer-Gesellschaft.For the price, this is one of the best books you'll ever buy.

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