This page features a collection of the best resources on Arthur Schopenhauer. Just to be clear, there is no single best resource on Schopenhauer. The best one will depend on your preferred learning style and the amount of time you want to spend learning about him.
To get started, simply choose one of the links below:
If you want a comprehensive overview:
- Read the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Schopenhauer. However, you should keep in mind that the Stanford Encyclopedia in often quite technical and this article may be difficult for beginners. It’s also quite long at around 11,000 words. Here’s a short excerpt that introduces Schopenhauer:
“Arthur Schopenhauer was among the first 19th century philosophers to contend that at its core, the universe is not a rational place. Inspired by Plato and Kant, both of whom regarded the world as being more amenable to reason, Schopenhauer developed their philosophies into an instinct-recognizing and ultimately ascetic outlook, emphasizing that in the face of a world filled with endless strife, we ought to minimize our natural desires for the sake of achieving a more tranquil frame of mind and a disposition towards universal beneficence. Often considered to be a thoroughgoing pessimist, Schopenhauer in fact advocated ways — via artistic, moral and ascetic forms of awareness — to overcome a frustration-filled and fundamentally painful human condition. Since his death in 1860, his philosophy has had a special attraction for those who wonder about life’s meaning, along with those engaged in music, literature, and the visual arts. . . .”
If you’re looking for a somewhat shorter and more engaging introduction:
- Read Kieran Setiya’s article: How Schopenhauer’s thought can illuminate a midlife crisis [1200 words]
If you’d prefer a video introduction:
If you prefer audio and podcasts:
If you’d just like to casually browse a few quotes:
Unfortunately, there’s only so much you can learn by using free online resources. If you want to learn more, check out this list of the Best Books on Schopenhauer
For more introductory philosophy resources and reading lists check out this collection of Resources and Reading Lists.