Arthur Schopenhauer

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Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) - influenced by Schelling, called himself a Kantian, and violently hated Hegel - possessed the rather pessimistic philosophy that was gaining importance and support after the revolution. He began with Kant's division of the universe into phenomenon and noumenon, claiming that the noumenon was the most important since the will is the inner content and the driving force. For Schopenhauer, will had primacy over intellect, and the striving will was even more important. From this Schopenhauer devalued philosophy and logic for art because neither could prove the will. In "As Will and Idea," Schopenhauer posited that humans living at the realm of objects are living in the realm of desire, and thus are eternally tormented by that desire. For him, the way to escape this rut of eternal torment was art. Artists intuitively grasped his eternal forms of existence and, thus, freed themselves from desire. Music was particularly privileged because it was the most in tune with the universe.

This was the foundation of Schopenhauer's aestheticism, which was really just romantic escapism without the optimism. In this respect, he became anti-bourgeois and anti-capitalism in a sort of pseudo-opposition because these were, to him, what made existence, which was responsible for the ills of the world. Existence became irrational simply because these ills were irrational.