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Schopenhauer and the Aesthetic Standpoint
Philosophy as a Practice of the Sublime

$92.99 (C)

  • Date Published: August 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107024403

$ 92.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • With its pessimistic vision and bleak message of world-denial, it has often been difficult to know how to engage with Schopenhauer’s philosophy. His arguments have seemed flawed and his doctrines marred by inconsistencies; his very pessimism almost too flamboyant to be believable. Yet a way of redrawing this engagement stands open, Sophia Vasalou argues, if we attend more closely to the visionary power of Schopenhauer’s work. The aim of this book is to place the aesthetic character of Schopenhauer’s standpoint at the heart of the way we read his philosophy and the way we answer the question: why read Schopenhauer - and how? Approaching his philosophy as an enactment of the sublime with a longer history in the ancient philosophical tradition, Vasalou provides a fresh way of assessing Schopenhauer’s relevance in critical terms. This book will be valuable for students and scholars with an interest in post-Kantian philosophy and ancient ethics.

    • Connects Schopenhauer's philosophical viewpoint to his aesthetics, and to the important Romantic notion of the sublime
    • Locates Schopenhauer's philosophy in the context of the ancient ethical tradition
    • Offers readers new resources for articulating the significance and affective power of Schopenhauer's philosophy
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    Reviews & endorsements

    “This book presents a carefully argued case for the centrality of the aesthetic to all aspects of Schopenhauer's philosophy. Vasalou's forceful and vivid style complements her daring effort to reveal a new unity in Schopenhauer's thought, as well as bringing him into fruitful conversation with contemporary ethical theory.”
    --Dale E. Snow, Loyola University Maryland

    “Arthur Schopenhauer considered the drive to philosophize as an expression of a form of wonder provoked by the ubiquity of suffering and death. In Schopenhauer and the Aesthetic Standpoint: Philosophy as a Practice of the Sublime, Sophia Vasalou looks carefully at Schopenhauer’s philosophic practice and the visionary qualities of his works, arguing that his practice is best understood as an aesthetic one, closely aligned with the experience of the sublime. Using her reading of Schopenhauer's thought as a practice of cultivating the perspective of the sublime, Vasalou locates Schopenhauer in a philosophic tradition found in the ancients-Plato- the Stoics-and Epicureans-emphasizing philosophy as practice and as expressive. And against the dominant literature that finds Schopenhauer’s philosophic argumentation wanting, and thereby raises the question of why read Schopenhauer at all, she suggests a reading of Schopenhauer that serves to express a standpoint that is peculiarly our own and that can be critically examined in a way in which is a form of self-criticism, demanding that we directly confront the temptations deriving from this standpoint and reflect on the ideals of character that govern the way we respond to it. Writing in an inviting, self-reflective, and expressive fashion, Vasalou draws the reader into the text. She artfully engages Schopenhauer’s philosophic writings and the Anglophone literature relevant to her topics. Her views are original; her argumentation is well-rehearsed and generously evenhanded. Vasalou brings a fresh and welcome voice to Schopenhauer studies in a philosophically evocative way.”
    --David Cartwright, University of Wisconsin Whitewater

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2013
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107024403
    • length: 244 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 157 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. A riddle and its answer
    2. Philosophy as: aesthetic
    3. Philosophy as: sublime
    4. Reading Schopenhauer
    5. From aesthetics to ethics
    6. An ethics of re-descent?

  • Author

    Sophia Vasalou, University of Cambridge
    Sophia Vasalou is visiting research fellow at King's College London. She is author of Moral Agents and their Deserts (2008) and editor of Practices of Wonder (2012).

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