This page aims to make learning about the philosophy of Schopenhauer as easy as possible by bringing together the best articles, podcasts, and videos from across the internet onto one page. To get started, simply choose one of the resources listed below, or browse a selection of key quotes by Schopenhauer at the bottom of the page.
This section features articles from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The SEP is probably the most comprehensive online philosophy resource. It features in-depth articles on a huge number of philosophical topics, however, it is aimed at an academic audience and may be too detailed and technical for beginners. The IEP is generally more beginner-friendly but is also considered to be less reliable. Wikipedia is also an option, but it is much less reliable than either of these.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
This section features short articles written by professional philosophers and aimed at a general audience. These articles are ideal for anyone looking for a shorter or more beginner-friendly introduction to Schopenhauer than the encyclopedia articles listed above.
The Times Literary Supplement
This section features episodes from leading philosophy podcasts. These are also aimed at a general audience and are a good option for beginners who prefer audio content.
In Our Time
The Partially Examined Life
- Schopenhauer: “The World Is Will”
- Schopenhauer on Reading, Writing, and Thinking
- Schopenhauer on Music with Guest Jonathan Segel
Short Videos (<30 mins)
This section features short videos aimed at beginners.
Academy of Ideas
- Introduction to Schopenhauer – The World as Will
- Introduction to Schopenhauer: Schopenhauer’s Ethics
Lectures/Longer Videos (>30 mins)
This section features longer videos and lectures. These tend to be less beginner-friendly and aimed at a more academic audience.
This section features requests for book recommendations on philosophy forums. These can also be useful to browse when trying to find reading recommendations.
- What Schopenhauer should I read?
- I want to start reading Schopenhauer. What book should I read first, and what is the best edition/translation of that book? Thank you
- How to get into Schopenhauer (and why are his books so hard to find?)
There is only so much that you can learn using free online resources. This section features books that may be useful if you’re looking to learn more about Schopenhauer.
- Schopenhauer: A Very Short Introduction – Christopher Janaway
- Schopenhauer – Julian Young
- Schopenhauer: A Biography – David E. Cartwright
- The Cambridge Companion to Schopenhauer – Christopher Janaway
- The Essential Schopenhauer – Arthur Schopenhauer
- Essays and Aphorisms – Arthur Schopenhauer
This section features a selection of key quotes by Schopenhauer.
Authors should use common words to say uncommon things. But they do just the opposite. We find them trying to wrap up trivial ideas in grand words, and to clothe their very ordinary thoughts in the most extraordinary phrases, the most far-fetched, unnatural, and out-of-the-way expressions. Their sentences perpetually stalk about on stilts. They take so much pleasure in bombast, and write in such a high-flown, bloated, affected, hyperbolical and acrobatic style that their prototype is Ancient Pistol, whom his friend Falstaff once impatiently told to say what he had to say like a man of this world.
– On Style, trans. T. Bailey Saunders
In a world where all is unstable, and nought can endure, but is swept onwards at once in the hurrying whirlpool of change; where a man, if he is to keep erect at all, must always be advancing and moving, like an acrobat on a rope—in such a world, happiness is inconceivable. How can it dwell where, as Plato says, continual Becoming and never Being is the sole form of existence? In the first place, a man never is happy, but spends his whole life in striving after something which he thinks will make him so; he seldom attains his goal, and when he does, it is only to be disappointed; he is mostly shipwrecked in the end, and comes into harbor with masts and rigging gone. And then, it is all one whether he has been happy or miserable; for his life was never anything more than a present moment always vanishing; and now it is over.
– On the Vanity of Existence
A man finds himself, to his great astonishment, suddenly existing, after thousands and thousands of years of non-existence: he lives for a little while; and then, again, comes an equally long period when he must exist no more. The heart rebels against this, and feels that it cannot be true.
– On the Vanity of Existence
“THE world is my idea”:— this is a truth which holds good for everything that lives and knows, though man alone can bring it into reflective and abstract consciousness. If he really does this, he has attained to philosophical wisdom. It then becomes clear and certain to him that what he knows is not a sun and an earth, but only an eye that sees a sun, a hand that feels an earth; that the world which surrounds him is there only as idea, i.e., only in relation to something else, the consciousness, which is himself.
– The World as Will and Idea, I, 1, trans. R. B. Haldane & J. Kemp
He who lives to see two or three generations is like a man who sits some time in the conjurer’s booth at a fair, and witnesses the performance twice or thrice in succession. The tricks were meant to be seen only once; and when they are no longer a novelty and cease to deceive, their effect is gone.
– On the Sufferings of the World
Human life must be some kind of mistake.
– On the Vanity of Existence, trans. T. Bailey Saunders
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