Matters of Life and Death
Here are some questions to help guide your
reading of these selections.
- What sorts of arguments or evidence does
Schopenhauer offer for his claims that life is full of suffering and misery
and it would be better were life not to have been?
- Given the prevalence of misery in the
world, how does Schopenhauer think I should view life? How does he
think I should view death?
- What is Schopenhauer's view of how good
and evil should be defined?
- What is Schopenhauer's view of the will
to live, and of the relation between will and knowledge?
- Why does Schopenhauer identify the will
to live as my essence? Do you agree with him? Why or why not?
- What contradictory conclusions does Schopenhauer
think we can draw from the observation that time is fleeting? What
are the contradictions supposed to tell us?
- What kind of life do we really want?
Individual existence or life, period? (Does this shed any light on
Ivan Ilyich's plight?)
- If Schopenhauer has such a dim view of
the essence of human beings (the will to live), why does he think we ought
to treat each other with regard?
- Isn't asking me to deny my will to live
asking me to abandon my very essence? Can I do that? Would that
be a good thing for me to do? Why or why not?