Last evening Professor Royce, in his course on Modern Thinkers, spoke of Schopenhaner. This philosopher's doctrine is often wholly misunderstood even by his followers; his opponents especially fail to conceive its dignity. The right opinion is to judge the world as tragic, and we should not try to refute Schopenhauer, but grapple with the tragedy.
His philosophy is one of caprice among idealists. It has a basis in Kantism and makes a world of ideas, which is one of deep unreason. It is on the whole a rationalism with an ideal basis. It appears much as Hegel's, yet, whereas in Schopenhauer all is tragedy, in Hegel we have the traits of a logos which is above the world.
Schopenhauer's style is in contrast with his temperament. He was morbidly pessimistic and vain, but his style is lucid and clear. His great work is the "World as Will and Idea." He asks what one's true nature is and comes to the conclusion that the whole inner life is in the will, i. e., the active nature as such. This is deeper than intellect and at the basis of all seeing and knowing.
An important feature of the philosophy is the theory of art, which, as typified notably in music, grasps types and appreciates them. In the world evil is necessary but the will must be denied. We must not look to suicide but to resignation to bear up against the tragedy.
The lecture concluded with a larger development of the comparison between Hegel and Schopenhauer and a summarized estimate of pessimism and the method to bear it.