Faculty of Arts

PHIL 209

Schopenhauer and Nietzsche

Please note: this is archived course information from 2018 for PHIL 209.


We will initially study Arthur Schopenhauer’s transcendence-oriented philosophy. After describing Immanuel Kant’s views as background, we will examine Schopenhauer’s claim that the core of the world is “Will” – an amoral, senseless energy. We will then consider Schopenhauer’s view that life is an essentially frustrating illusion, largely of our own making, and his prescriptions for otherworldly salvation in the universalistic experiences of beauty, moral compassion and the minimisation of desire. We will then compare and contrast Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy of life-affirmation and health. We will examine his account of the therapeutic effects of classical, theatrical tragedy and will reflect upon his understanding of the contemporary “death of God” as this stands in conjunction with his own prescriptions for this-worldly salvation in acknowledging the ideal of the superhuman, super-healthy being, along with the underlying will to power and eternal recurrence of life’s events.

Availability 2018

Not taught in 2018


Coordinator(s) Associate Professor Robert Wicks


Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, Volume I, translated by EFJ Payne (New York: Dover Publications, 1969). ISBN: 486-21761-2 (a different translation by Haldane and Kemp, also acceptable, is online)

Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, translated by Graham Parkes (New York: Oxford, 2005). ISBN: 0192805835 (other translations, some of which are online, are also acceptable)

OR (instead of Thus Spoke Zarathustra) Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil (Kaufmann translation preferred; other translations are acceptable; this book is also available online)

Recommended Reading

Recommended texts will be compiled in the Short Loan Materials section of the Main Library


Coursework + exam


PHIL 209: 15.0 points


30 points in Philosophy or EUROPEAN 100 and 15 points in Philosophy


PHIL 329

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