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The World as Will as Theology Essay

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The World as Will as Theology



"The Absolute is its appearances; it really is." ... Bradley

"And look at everyone — it's in them all" ["Und sieh dir andre an: es ist in allen"] ... Rilke

It is interesting to view Schopenhauer's teaching of the world as Wille as a theology. In this light Schopenhauer can be considered an 'atheist' only from a narrow perspective.* Schopenhauer's theology, as a Western monist/monotheist view based on Eastern thought, offers an alternative both to atheism and to Western/Middle Eastern monotheism (Judaism, Christianity, Islam).

[* Other alleged 'atheists' included Socrates, Spinoza, and the early Christians themselves. Often cited as an atheist, Shelley points out on his opening page that he has no objection to theism per se, but only as it appears in Judeo-Christianity.]

The approach will be to characterize Schopenhauer's thought concerning Wille, to identify key Western and Eastern conceptions of God, and then to see where Wille fits, and does not fit, these conceptions.

A. What is Wille?

"Not as a god, but as a god might be" ... Stevens

Schopenhauer's Wille is essentially Kant's noumenon, but with Kant's intentions subverted. Whereas Kant wanted to set aside the noumenon from the grasp of 'pure reason' so that the observer (and science) could concentrate on phenomena (governed by space, time, and causality), Schopenhauer re-introduced the noumenon as at least partially graspable, in both its external and essential aspects, by reason and introspection.

Wille is the essential nature of the universe ungoverned by appearances, that is, underlying phenomena which are governed by space, time, and causality (the principles of sufficient reason). A fascinating dynamic ...


... middle of paper ...


...y of Religion. Blackwell, 1997.

(Sherry 1997) Sherry, Patrick. "Beauty". Pages 279-285 in Quinn & Taliaferro.

(Stump 1997) Stump, Eleanore. "Simplicity". Pages 250-256 in Quinn & Taliaferro.

(Taliaferro 1997) Taliaferro, Charles. "Incorporeality". Pages 271-278 in Quinn & Taliaferro.

(Tracy 1997) Tracy, Thomas F. "Divine Action". Pages 299-305 in Quinn & Taliaferro.

(Wierenga 1997) Wierenga, Edward R. "Omnipresence". Pages 286-290 in Quinn & Taliaferro.

(Williams 1997) Williams, C.J.F. "Being". Pages 223-228 in Quinn & Taliaferro.

(Zagzebski 1997) Zagzebski, Linda. "Foreknowledge and Human Freedom". Pages 291-298 in Quinn & Taliaferro.

C. Other References

(Bouzereau 1997) Bouzereau, Laurent. Star Wars, The Annotated Screenplays. Ballantine, 1997.

(Nagel 1986) Nagel, Thomas. The View from Nowhere. Oxford University Press, 1986.


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