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Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie

Ed. by Horn, Christoph / Serck-Hanssen, Camilla

Together with Mercer, Christia

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Did Schopenhauer Neglect the ‘Neglected Alternative’ Objection?

1Department of Philosophy, Indiana University, 026 Sycamore Hall, 1033 E. Third Street, Bloomington, IN 47401, USA

Citation Information: Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie. Volume 93, Issue 3, Pages 321–348, ISSN (Online) 1613-0650, ISSN (Print) 0003-9101, DOI: 10.1515/agph.2011.014, September 2011

Publication History

Published Online:
2011-09-02

Abstract

For well over a hundred years, commentators have examined the importance of the famous ‘neglected alternative’ (NA) objection to transcendental idealism. By contrast, very little attention has been paid to what the NA objection means for a later philosophical system of the 19th century that was highly indebted to Kant, namely, that of Arthur Schopenhauer. I seek to redress this lacuna in Schopenhauer scholarship and argue first that Schopenhauer acknowledged NA (avant la lettre) and took it seriously. Second, I evaluate the arguments he gave against NA and in favor of the exclusive subjectivity of space and time, and thus for the thesis that the thing in itself is aspatiotemporal. Finally, I consider the threat posed by NA for Schopenhauer's thought in general. This investigation ultimately yields a clearer understanding of the basis upon which Schopenhauer founded his metaphysics, and how he attempted to provide a more self-consistent version of transcendental idealism. These topics have not been sufficiently appreciated by commentators to date.

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