Arthur Schopenhauer’s meaning of life includes ideas that attempt to identify factors that constitute happiness. According to Schopenhauer, the three factors are what one is, what one has, and how one is regarded by others. ( Pigliucci, 2006 ) What one has and how one is regarded appear to be the two deciding factors that determine an individual’s happiness. Not much consideration is given to what one is. These ideas led to the philosophy that “personality is the greatest factor in happiness.” ( Pigliucci, 2006 ) Schopenhauer believed that personal attributes that are possessed need to be utilized to their maximum potential. The relationship between wealth and happiness is positively recognized by Schopenhauer however, once needs are meet, the relationship ceases to exist. Schopenhauer believes that our life existence is based on the fleeting present. ( The Meaning of Life, 2015 )
Schopenhauer was also known for his unpleasant demeanor and in fact, was considered a pessimistic philosopher. He was arrogant and paranoid and was known to sleep with a gun every night. Schopenhauer’s belief was that life was painful and filled with a cycle of “getting” and then always “wanting” more. Although pessimistic and somewhat depressive, Schopenhauer taught compassion. According to Schopenhauer, harm done to others is harm inflicted upon the self.
Schopenhauer was known to be a critic of the great thinker Immanuel Kant. One of the arguments Schopenhauer had with Kant’s philosophy was that it lacked the feelings of compassion and sympathy. Kantian ethics considered compassion and sympathy to be a nuisance when allowed to interfere with set rules. Feelings like these would bloc...
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...led to the development of his argument against Kant. The argument is fueled by the question: How do we make our way through life? As we strive to do the right things, do we always follow the set rules or do we predict the outcomes and then turn to our feelings to make the right decisions? The answer for everyone is different. Problems arise when these differences lead to behaviors that are not easily understood or are misconstrued. The best solution is to utilize a combination of both philosophies.
Schopenhauer and Kant are both considered giants in the world of philosophical thinking. Research and study about both of these great thinkers has led me to believe that their arguments are well grounded and have led to philosophies that have combined both of their ideas. Modern day thinkers are lucky because they were given a solid foundation on which to build.
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