Date of Award

5-9-2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Jessica Berry

Second Advisor

Eric Wilson

Abstract

While Schopenhauer is well-known for his pessimistic outlook on life, I argue that not all aspects of his philosophical project support this outlook. Specifically, I argue that Schopenhauer’s aesthetic genius must necessarily affirm life through artistic creation. To show that this is the case, I contend that the aesthetic genius’ engagement with the world of representation precludes him from engaging in the denial of the will-to-live, and that his desire to communicate his knowledge of the world entails an affirmation of the will-to-live. I furthermore outline and explore significant parallels between artistic creation and procreation, which I believe strengthen my reading of the aesthetic genius as one who affirms life. These claims lead me to conclude that the aesthetic genius affirms the will-to-live by seeking to create something that immortalizes his knowledge of the nature of things—that is, by giving birth to what Schopenhauer calls “immortal children.”

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