Western philosophy’s most profound and unrelenting pessimist, Schopenhauer hymned the miseries of human existence with a joylessness that was little short of lyrical. Yet he thrilled to the beauties of music and art.
How did such deep bleakness and such sublime enthusiasm come to coincide in one man, one mind? Only by squaring these two sides of Schopenhauer can we truly hope to understand this most paradoxical – even perverse of thinkers. Only through his thoughts on Beauty can we apprehend his attitude towards Truth.
The failure of later philosophers down the generations to resolve these apparent contradictions has seen Schopenhauer’s thought unjustly marginalized and philosophy itself much poorer. Michael Tanner’s enthralling introduction teases out the difficulties and unpicks the paradoxes to reveal the exhilarating coherence beneath. It amounts to nothing less than a rediscovery of one of Western tradition’s greatest philosophers.