Pushing Back: Reading The World as Will and Representation as a Woman

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Contribution to Book

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Judith Norman takes up the complicated question of feminism in WWR. Political critiques of the history of philosophy frequently accuse philosophers of illegitimately universalizing a particular view of subjectivity – unwittingly normalizing a parochial conception of human nature, for instance. Although this is a critique that can undoubtedly be extended to Schopenhauer, it is striking that Nietzsche, drawing largely on metaphysical resources derived from Schopenhauer, was one of the first to really recognize and contest this illegitimate philosophical strategy. Norman looks at the extent to which Schopenhauer anticipated Nietzsche in this project of tracing a genealogy of the subject within a metaphysics of will, closely examining Schopenhauer’s fraught discussion of sexual difference in “The Metaphysics of Sexual Love.” This leads her to the question of the ontological status of sexual difference, and whether this cleft in nature registers at the level of transcendental subjectivity, and the consequences for Schopenhauer’s view of the subject, the question of women readers of the text, and women subjects of philosophy in general.




Cambridge University Press

Publication Information

Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Representation: A Critical Guide