Here Bryan Magee gives some background on Schopie, which leads into an interview with philosophical historian (and Jesuit priest, known for debating Bertrand Russell on the radio re. the existence of God) Frederick Copleston:
At the end of this first clip, Copleston points out that Kant thought of things in themselves as plural: there's the table as you see it, and the table in itself, whereas Schopenhauer thought that if you take away space and time, you can't have multiplicity: the object as it is in itself, not conditioned by these things, must be one. We are all one. This reflects his interests in the Hindu Upanishads, which apparently he read frequently and helped with a translation of.
This thought is continued in part two:
Watch on youtube.
Magee ties this thought in not only with Hinduism but with Buddhism, but says that Schopenhauer derived this conclusion from Western sources and found that it coincided with Eastern thought, as opposed to being impressed by Eastern thought and cramming this into his Kantian, as I posited on the episode.
The discussion continues through a few more clips, with some more detail than we gave on "will" than we really went into. Magee describes Schopenhauer's picture of reality as underlyingly will as translatable into saying that it's underlying energy. In other words, modern physics supports Schopenhauer, and he can't be scientifically brushed away as I did in pointing out his connections to vitalism. Listening past this, the discussion gets into his pessimism and other areas that we didn't cover at all in the episode.
Daniel Horne says
Great post and a great program! I tried to read Fourfold Root in advance of the podcast, and found myself getting lost. I think it’s tricky for novices without a solid background in Kant to approach it.
Seth, please do upload the handy chart!
Anyway, all of the Bryan Magee interviews on YouTube are worth watching. I actually bought Magee’s Schopenhauer biography after watching it, and it’s a better read than you’d think, largely on the strength of Magee’s prose.
By the way, I think you guys undersold Schopenhauer’s influence a bit. (I point this out only to help convince you that he was worth your time!)
Schopenhauer was one of the few “canonical” philosophers Wittgenstein had read prior to writing the Tractatus, and Schopenhauer’s work on the limits of knowledge heavily influenced early Wittgenstein. This is widely acknowledged, but below is a review of a book focusing specifically on that issue:
He’s also become something of a patron saint to musicians and artists (famously but not exclusively Wagner), but that’s another post….
Mark Linsenmayer says
Thanks, Daniel. Put up posts on whatever other secondary sources you’ve run across, if you’d like!
The same goes for the rest of you folks. Please e-mail me your links, and if you’d actually like to review a philosophy book or whatever, send me the text and we’ll talk.
Thanks for the interesting post.
There is a printed version of the broadcasts: Bryan Magee, “The Great Philosophers”, BBC books, 1987.
Reading the pages from 218 to 220 there is an interesting discussion between Magee and Copleston about the relation between the “underlying reality” or thing in itself, and its “phenomenal” manifestations in space and time, matter and energy.
At this “kantian”, scientific level, Schopenhauer argues that “matter is instantiated energy” and that a metrial object is “space filled with force”: consequently, energy is the ultimate reality in the physical world.
On the other side the underlying reality, the Will, is beyond everything which is phenomenical, and manifests itself in matter and energy.
energy is ‘will’? yes, ‘will’ is brahman , the energy underlying all. the hindus just have a great story for it all, and for those that need stories other than physics [that’s not an insult], it is a quite insightful story.