7 Sep 2022


Schopenhauer's Concept of "World as Will"

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According to Schopenhauer, the World as Will is the world as it is “in-itself.” The will is then depicted as the sheer strive, with or without direction, goal or end, to live or seek to understand how the world itself is for man and his thoughts. To Schopenhauer, the world ad will is a blind impulse without any objectivity that makes man to seek knowledge that sometimes leads to untold suffering. Therefore, the world as will denotes to ideas that form to find truth in knowledge (Robert, 2011). Conversely, the world as representation is the objectified world based on how it appears to us. As a result, the world is representation because of the knowledge that we have about and our objectivity of the will. The implication is that eventually the will becomes the object that can be seen and thus the representation of the world. Imperatively, the relationship between the will and representation is captured when Schopenhauer uses Kantian concept of “thing-in-itself,” and Plato’s view of idea. He posits that while idea and thing-in-itself are not one and the same, the idea is the immediate, adequate, and objectivity of the thing-in-itself, and thus the will that is not objectified (Robert, 2011). Therefore, the will only becomes a representation when it is objectified as an object that can be seen. Imperatively, the will comes before representation. 

From a philosophical perspective, a philosopher may find Schopenhauer’s metaphysical interesting in several ways. One, indeed the world as will exists in form of ideas that people try to make real, by creating certain objects that can be seen or viewed in ordinary situations (Robert, 2011). For instance, Schopenhauer states that idea and thing-in-itself are one and the same. Indeed ideas are different from real objects. He postulates that for will to prevail reason must be used by man, and thus reason is subordinate to will. He then goes to state that the thing-in-itself is an irrational and unlimited urge to live in a phenomenal world where many strive to live on moral grounds if when the objectified reality contradicts with the knowledge acquired by someone. Second, one would agree that knowledge comes as a result of will, or the urge to know (Robert, 2011). The knowledge then forms immediate objects that due to the application of the law of causality, they form the starting point of knowledge. Therefore, knowledge becomes the objectified will that creates the world as representation. It suffices to note that a philosopher may relate Schopenhauer’s concepts to Plato’s Idea and Kantian perspective on thing-in-itself 

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Conversely, a philosopher may object the concept advanced by Schopenhauer because his concept of will and world representation overly pessimistic. For instance, Schopenhauer states that the will to live is essentially are a result of reality and that all willing comes from the suffering that people experience in real world. The philosopher is categorical that ideas are subordinate to will and reason only works where will exists. It suffices to note that in actual sense then people cannot have knowledge if they lack the will to acquire some. He says that all willing arises from lack, and deficiency; all that constitutes suffering (Robert, 2011). Therefore, when one finds satisfaction and fulfillment, they never have the will to acquire and understand the world as a representation or the objectified part of the will. To him, people never obtain lasting happiness or peace even if they strive to discover and fulfill the will. In willing, people strive to change their state of life. Secondly, one would object this view because it postulates that the world is a place where people experience perpetual conflict and frustration. Thus, one would object this philosophy since it is pessimistic. 


Robert L. W. (2011).  Schopenhauer's  The World as Will and Representation : A Reader's Guide

Continuum, pp. 184. Accessed on March 8, 2017, from http://ndpr.nd.edu/news/schopenhauer-s-the-world-as-will-and-representation-a-reader-s-guide/ 

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