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The Pessimism Controversy

The Pessimism Controversy

(p.158) 5 The Pessimism Controversy
After Hegel
Frederick C. Beiser
Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the most intense philosophical controversies of the late nineteenth century: the Pessimismusstreit. According to some contemporary accounts, pessimism quickly overshadowed materialism as the most pressing and important issue of the age. Pessimism swiftly became the talk of the town, the subject of literary salons, and even the object of satire. The pessimism controversy had two main phases. The first phase arose in the 1860s with Schopenhauer's rise to fame, when many articles, pamphlets, and books were published attacking his pessimism. The second phase began in 1870 in reaction against Eduard von Hartmann's Philosophie des Unbewussten, which had reaffirmed but qualified Schopenhauer's pessimism.

Keywords:   German philosophy, Arthur Schopenhauer, pessimism, Eduard von Hartmann, Pessimismusstreit, Philosophie des Unbewussten

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