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Idealistic Studies

Volume 40, Issue 1/2, Spring/Summer 2010

Edward Eugene Kleist
Pages 15-26
DOI: 10.5840/idstudies2010401/22

Schopenhauer on the Individuation and Teleology of Intelligible Character

A problem arises in Schopenhauer’s claim that each individual person’s will, or intelligible character, is timeless. The principium individuationis depends upon spatio-temporal determinations governing the world as representation. As individual, one’s individual character would seem to depend upon spatio-temporal conditions. Yet, Schopenhauer adopts the Kantian distinction between empirical character and intelligible character, with the individual’s intelligible character remaining the timeless Ding-an-sich, or will. In response to this problem, I proceed in four stages. First, I examine why Schopenhauer appropriated the Kantian distinction between intelligible and empirical character. Secondly, I argue in favor of the solution which indicates that, for Schopenhauer, each individual’s intelligible character is related to the Platonic Idea unique to that individual. In the third stage, I determine how the teleological claims in Schopenhauer’s doctrine of Ideas bear on the problem. In the fourth stage, I suggest how Schopenhauer’s account presents a phenomenology of the unity of consciousness.