Description - On the Basis of Morality by Arthur Schopenhauer
Interest in Schopenhauer has increased noticeably in recent years. Published here is one of his key works, which has been out of print for a long time, in the form of Payne's definitive translation. This work is one of the most significant nineteenth century treatises on ethics. It is also Schopenhauer's most extended discussion of traditional themes in ethics and presents a descriptive ethics radically at odds with rationally based, prescriptive ethical theories. Schopenhauer begins this book with a wide-ranging critique of Kant's ethics, one that anticipates the work of contemporary critics of modern moral philosophy like that of G E M Anscombe, Philippa Foot, and Richard Taylor. Schopenhauer argues that compassion is the basis of morality, and in so doing presents a virtue ethics in which passion and desire are viewed as the keys for explaining different moral characters, behaviours, and world views. In the concluding part of his essay, Schopenhauer sketches his metaphysics of morals, using Kant's transcendental idealism as a ground for stressing both the interconnectiveness of being and the affinity of his ethics to Eastern thought.
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