January 3, 2013

Philosophy:  Schopenhauer's fourfold root

Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.
— Arthur Schopenhauer
Physics is unable to stand on its own feet, but needs a metaphysics on which to support itself, whatever fine airs it may assume towards the latter.
— Arthur Schopenhauer

1. Philosophy:  Schopenhauer's fourfold root
About ME/CFS


Yesterday there was a part in the Crisis series:
Why are so many so apathetic? and I intended to follow this up today with some quotations of school examinations from Brian J. Ford's "The Cult of the Expert", which dates back to 1982, since when public education has grown even worse, while the apathetic generation then robbed of their birth right on a good education meanwhile have  children who may nearly have children - but as I am not feeling very well, I merely recommend it, in case you want some fact based knowledge about the enormous decline in public education.

Otherwise, I have just a brief bit on Schopenhauer's first book for people interested in philosophy (of science!), and a reference to an excellent site.

1. Schopenhauer's fourfold root

I have several times stated that I like Schopenhauer, but never treated him at length, and will not do so now either. The main reasons I like him are that he often makes sense, and that he wrote an excellent German style, that is enjoyable to read, also if one does not at all agree with him.

I read his main work, Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung (The world as will and representations) in German; and his essays, Parerga und paralipomenina, in Dutch, and his doctoral thesis, Über die vierfache Wurzel des Satzes vom zureichende Grunde aka On the fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason in English, all because I generally want to owe the important books I read, to make annotations in them, and because I always had little money, and normally relied on antiquarian bookshops.

The first two works involve a lot of reading, but my subject today is the third book, which is a lot shorter, and in some ways the best he did. Since I did write some about him in September 2012, when I said he
he was a great writer, and an interesting philosopher, I may as well quote that:


In case you doubt the latter - most academic philosophers do, I guess from prejudice, for few seem to have really read him, and most seem to judge him aping the judgements in summaries of philosophical classics by minor minds, with academical tenure - you should try to find, if you don't read German, "
On the fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason" ISBN 0-87548-187-6, publ. 1974 by Open Court Publishing Company, translated by E.F.J. Payne, with an introduction by Richard Taylor.

As its (paperback) cover says:

The Fourfold Root is for many philosophers Schopenhauer's most admired work, incorporating as it does not only an introduction to his principal work but also a concise summary of his philosophy in its mature form.

This is true for me, and I have read most of Schopenhauer (in German or Dutch, except for
The Fourfold Root, as it happens). The reasons I read most of him are that he writes so well, as indeed almost all great philosophers do, but he is particularly good.

(paperback) cover says more that is quite true and little known:

As Professor Richard Taylor states in his introduction to this book, "Schopenhauer´s analyses of causation and related concepts, which he considers to be involved in the Principle of Sufficient Reason as applied to all change in the physical world, surely rival and probably surpasses in their depth and brilliance the more celebrated discussions of David Hume. Where Hume grossly oversimplified these problems and left them riddled with paradoxes, Schopenhauer disentangled them and shed light on what had seemed a hopeless task."

I quite agree - and I really closely studied both Schopenhauer and Hume and my analysis of Hume's Enquiry concerning Human Understanding is on my site, that is both the full text and my notes, that are approximately as long as the text.


I have arrived at my reason for the present Nederlog, which is that I found that there is an earlier translation, from 1983, available at the excellent (<- Wikipedia link) with an extra thrown in:
I have not yet read it through, having read the paper version mentioned above, but it seems competently translated.

So... if you really are interested in philosophy or indeed in the logic of conditionals, this should interest you.

About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which is a disease I have since 1.1.1979:
1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

       home - index - summaries - mail