Schopenhauer and the Aesthetic Standpoint: Philosophy as a Practice of the Sublime

Cambridge University Press
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With its pessimistic vision and bleak message of world-denial, it has often been difficult to know how to engage with Schopenhauer's philosophy. Schopenhauer's arguments have seemed flawed and his doctrines marred by inconsistencies; his very pessimism almost too flamboyant to be believable. Yet a way of redrawing this engagement stands open, Sophia Vasalou argues, if we attend more closely to the visionary power of Schopenhauer's work. The aim of this book is to place the aesthetic character of Schopenhauer's standpoint at the heart of the way we read his philosophy and the way we answer the question: why read Schopenhauer - and how? Approaching his philosophy as an enactment of the sublime with a longer history in the ancient philosophical tradition, Vasalou provides a fresh way of assessing Schopenhauer's relevance in critical terms. This book will be valuable for students and scholars with an interest in post-Kantian philosophy and ancient ethics.
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About the author

Sophia Vasalou is visiting research fellow at King's College London. She is author of Moral Agents and their Deserts (2008) and editor of Practices of Wonder (2012).

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Additional Information

Publisher
Cambridge University Press
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Published on
Jul 18, 2013
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Pages
269
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ISBN
9781107244818
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / Aesthetics
Philosophy / Ethics & Moral Philosophy
Philosophy / General
Philosophy / History & Surveys / General
Philosophy / History & Surveys / Modern
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This content is DRM protected.
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Icon of modern-day fundamentalist movements, firebrand religious purist, tireless polemicist against the intellectual schools of his time-the Ibn Taymiyya we know is a thinker we often associate with hard attitudes and dogmatic stances. Yet there is another Ibn Taymiyya that stands out from the pages of his work, the thinker who fashions himself as a master of the via media and as a defender of the harmony between human reason and the religious faith. The aim of this book is to shed fresh light on Ibn Taymiyya's intellectual identity by a close investigation of his ethical thought. Earlier Muslim thinkers debating ethical value had been exercised by a number of core questions. What makes actions right or wrong? How do human beings know it? And what is God's relationship to the evaluative standards discerned by the human mind? An investigation of Ibn Taymiyya's engagement with such questions has much to teach us about his intellectual program and particularly about the role of reason and the linchpin concept of human nature (fitra) within this program. It also has much to teach us about Ibn Taymiyya's relationship to the intellectual landscape of his time, bringing us up against a rich tapestry of ethical discussions unfolding within theology, philosophy and legal theory in the classical period. At the same time, a close reading of Ibn Taymiyya's ethics invites us to confront not only the content of his thought but its form, and more particularly those features of his writing that fracture our efforts to unify his thought.
Icon of modern-day fundamentalist movements, firebrand religious purist, tireless polemicist against the intellectual schools of his time-the Ibn Taymiyya we know is a thinker we often associate with hard attitudes and dogmatic stances. Yet there is another Ibn Taymiyya that stands out from the pages of his work, the thinker who fashions himself as a master of the via media and as a defender of the harmony between human reason and the religious faith. The aim of this book is to shed fresh light on Ibn Taymiyya's intellectual identity by a close investigation of his ethical thought. Earlier Muslim thinkers debating ethical value had been exercised by a number of core questions. What makes actions right or wrong? How do human beings know it? And what is God's relationship to the evaluative standards discerned by the human mind? An investigation of Ibn Taymiyya's engagement with such questions has much to teach us about his intellectual program and particularly about the role of reason and the linchpin concept of human nature (fitra) within this program. It also has much to teach us about Ibn Taymiyya's relationship to the intellectual landscape of his time, bringing us up against a rich tapestry of ethical discussions unfolding within theology, philosophy and legal theory in the classical period. At the same time, a close reading of Ibn Taymiyya's ethics invites us to confront not only the content of his thought but its form, and more particularly those features of his writing that fracture our efforts to unify his thought.
Synthesizes the most important recent work on wonder and brings a number of disciplines into conversation.

Wonder has been celebrated as the quintessential passion of childhood. From the earliest stages of our intellectual history, it has been acclaimed as the driving force of inquiry and the prime passion of thought. Yet for an emotion acknowledged so widely for the multiple roles it plays in our lives, wonder has led a singularly shadowy existence in recent reflections. Philosophers have largely passed it over in silence; emotion theorists have shunned it as a case that sits awkwardly within their analytical frameworks. So what is wonder, and why does it matter? In this book, Sophia Vasalou sketches a “grammar” of wonder that pursues the complexities of wonder as an emotional experience that has carved colorful tracks through our language and our intellectual history, not only in philosophy and science but also in art and religious experience. A richer grammar of wonder and broader window into its past can give us the tools we need for thinking more insightfully about wonder, and for reflecting on the place it should occupy within our emotional lives.

“Vasalou’s book is an important and exciting contribution to the literature. It is not a narrow academic inquiry on an obscure topic, but a sweeping exploration of an emotion that was once recognized as among the most important. Vasalou makes a powerful case for wonder and her book will spark great interest.” — Jesse Prinz, author of Beyond Human Nature: How Culture and Experience Shape the Human Mind

“This is a powerful study of wonder, whose major strengths include its engagement of overlooked primary sources (in particular, Adam Smith and Zorba the Greek), its exhaustive treatment of the secondary literature, and its careful attunement to historical complexities.” — Mary-Jane Rubenstein, author of Strange Wonder: The Closure of Metaphysics and the Opening of Awe
Icon of modern-day fundamentalist movements, firebrand religious purist, tireless polemicist against the intellectual schools of his time-the Ibn Taymiyya we know is a thinker we often associate with hard attitudes and dogmatic stances. Yet there is another Ibn Taymiyya that stands out from the pages of his work, the thinker who fashions himself as a master of the via media and as a defender of the harmony between human reason and the religious faith. The aim of this book is to shed fresh light on Ibn Taymiyya's intellectual identity by a close investigation of his ethical thought. Earlier Muslim thinkers debating ethical value had been exercised by a number of core questions. What makes actions right or wrong? How do human beings know it? And what is God's relationship to the evaluative standards discerned by the human mind? An investigation of Ibn Taymiyya's engagement with such questions has much to teach us about his intellectual program and particularly about the role of reason and the linchpin concept of human nature (fitra) within this program. It also has much to teach us about Ibn Taymiyya's relationship to the intellectual landscape of his time, bringing us up against a rich tapestry of ethical discussions unfolding within theology, philosophy and legal theory in the classical period. At the same time, a close reading of Ibn Taymiyya's ethics invites us to confront not only the content of his thought but its form, and more particularly those features of his writing that fracture our efforts to unify his thought.
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