Volume 12, April 2019
A Pragmatic Look at Schopenhauer’s Pessimism
Schopenhauer’s pessimistic philosophy is a depressing read. He writes many pages about how suffering is the norm, and any happiness we feel is merely a temporary alleviation of suffering. Even so, his account of suffering rings true to many readers. What are we to do with our lives if Schopenhauer is right, and we are doomed to suffer? In this paper, I use William James’ pragmatic method to find practical implications of Schopenhauer’s pessimism. I provide a model for how we are to live our lives in a suffering world, a model that provides means to reduce suffering.