Schopenhauer on Hegel

This is funny:

“But the height of audacity in serving up pure nonsense, in stringing together senseless and extravagant mazes of words, such as had previously been known only in madhouses, was finally reached in Hegel, and became the instrument of the most barefaced general mystification that has ever taken place, with a result which will appear fabulous to posterity, and will remain as a monument to German stupidity.”

Arthur Schopenhauer, Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung, trans. Haldane-Kemp (The World as Will and Idea, vol. 2), London: Kegan Paul, p. 22.



  1. He definitely is. Will Durant’s Story of Philosophy has a great survey of his life and work. It’s hard not to both love and despise (pity?) him at the same time.

    • Yes, I know what you mean. I plowed my way through most of “The World…” in the two big Dover paperbacks many years ago when I was a young man into ‘weltschmerz’, but the image of the noble, passion-denying philosopher pushing a seamstress down the stairs in a fit of selfish anger tarnished everything I read.

      • Why?

        Schopenhauer’s acute awareness of his own passions and temperament, and especially of his own inability to control them, was obviously one factor that led to him positing his thesis in the first place – that is, his thesis that the Will is not governable by the individual, but constitutes his essence beyond his control, and which can at best be suspended temporarily but certainly not denied permanently or even at length. His fit of anger at the seamstress, therefore, does not in any way contradict his thesis or make Schopenhauer less genuine.

        The “image of the noble, passion-denying philosopher”, as you put it, is indeed your own, not one that Schopenhauer ever invited.

  2. Somewhere in the Penguin Schopenhauer Epigrams, Schopenhauer says, with respect to pantheism, that if everything is water, we need another name for water.

  3. Schopenhauer was quite jealous of Hegel because, since they thought at the same university, Hegel has always attracted more students than Schopenhauer. His funny remark about Hegel is understandable but certainly not true…

  4. How can Schopenhauers funny remarks NOT be true? Jealousy? I think not. I see it as frustration that something he despiced was taken more seriously than his own lifework, which makes a lot more sense than any of Hegels works.

    Schopenhauer will be back, reincarnated as Messiah… he told me that in secret codes through out “The World As Will And Representation”.

  5. No, Hegel wasn’t a philosopher. He was at best a theologian (lol). Phenomenology of the Spirit is a terrible philosophy book. It is intellectual masturbation.

  6. Remember when Hegel wrote that Scientists shouldnt waste time searching for more planets because according to his philosophy there were only supposed to be seven planets, and the very same year he wrote that essay an eight planet was discovered. How embarrassing it would have been.

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