The Basis of Morality (Dover Philosophical Classics)

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9780486446530: The Basis of Morality (Dover Philosophical Classics)

Persuasive and humane, this classic of philosophy represents one of the nineteenth century's most significant treatises on ethics. The Basis of Morality offers Schopenhauer's fullest examination of traditional ethical themes, and it articulates a descriptive form of ethics that contradicts the rationally based prescriptive theories.
Starting with his polemic against Kant's ethics of duty, Schopenhauer anticipates the latter-day critics of moral philosophy. Arguing that compassion forms the basis of morality, he outlines a perspective on ethics in which passion and desire correspond to different moral characters, behaviors, and worldviews. In conclusion, Schopenhauer defines his metaphysics of morals, employing Kant's transcendental idealism to illustrate both the interconnectiveness of being and the affinity of his ethics to Eastern thought.

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From the Back Cover:

A disciple of Kant and a significant factor in shaping Nietzsche's thinking, Arthur Schopenhauer worked from the foundation that all knowledge derives from our experience of the world but that our experience is necessarily subjective and formed by our own intellect and biases: reality, therefore, is but an extension of our own will.

In this essay, translated by ARTHUR BRODRICK BULLOCK (b. 1860) and first published in English at the turn of the 20th century, Schopenhauer articulates a humane system of ethics that springs, surprisingly, from this same subjectivity as he connects compassion to morality: an action is moral, he insists, if it is motivated by sympathy.

Part treatise on conventional ethics and part stunning refutation of Kant's rigid Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals, this classic--considered by some to be Schopenhauer's masterwork--continues to challenge and intrigue students of philosophy and of 19th-century intellectualism to this day.

About the Author:

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) elabore dans sa jeunesse un systeme philosophique dont il explore les consequences dans le domaine de la morale et de la religion. Il passe l essentiel de sa vie a son discours.

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