Saturday, June 30, 2018

Schopenhauer On Kant and Scholasticism

Schopenhauer’s Bust in Frankfurt
Arthur Schopenhauer makes seven references to scholasticism in his essay, “Criticisms of The Kantian Philosophy” (Chapter: Appendix; The World as Will and Representation, Volume 1). He suggests that scholasticism lasted for 1400 years before Immanuel Kant. But this means that scholasticism predates Thomas Aquinas, and that the scholastic system got manifested towards the end of the Roman Empire when there was a significant rise in the power and influence of Christianity.

Here’s an excerpt from Schopenhauer’s essay, “Criticisms of The Kantian Philosophy”:
That Kant's great achievements were bound to be accompanied by great errors is easy to understand on merely historical grounds. For although he effected the greatest revolution in philosophy, and did away with scholasticism, which in the above-mentioned wider sense had lasted for fourteen hundred years, in order really to begin an entirely new third world-epoch in philosophy, the immediate result of his appearance was, however, in practice only negative, not positive.
Schopenhauer points out that Kant was unable to break away from scholasticism in every region of his philosophy. As an example of the bad segments in Kantian philosophy which are reminiscent of a scholastic mindset, Schopenhauer mentions the chapter on the Transcendental Ideal in Kant’s The Critique of Pure Reason.  “There now follows the chapter on the Transcendental Ideal, which at once takes us back to the rigid scholasticism of the Middle Ages.” The use of the word "rigid" is significant in this sentence because it signifies that Schopenhauer believed that scholasticism which existed since the end of the Roman Empire became more rigid during the Middle Ages. 

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