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By W. Boothby

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29 Schopenhauer has four main arguments for idealism. One alleges that we cannot imagine anything which exists outside our own minds, because what we are imagining at that moment is nothing but just the process in the intellect of a knowing being (W2, 5). This is reminiscent of a controversial argument attempted by Berkeley, who thought that an unperceived tree could not be imagined. Schopenhauer's use of the argument is not very convincing, however, because even though my imagining a world independent of my mind does presuppose my own mind, the existence of what I imagine a world independent of my mind does not.

It is easy to think that the idea of the will to life is wrongly fixated on the idea that there are purposes in nature. However, although Schopenhauer speaks of purposes or ends being fulfilled by behaviour patterns and the workings of particular organs, he clearly does not think that organisms entertain any conscious purposes for the will works blindly : 45 we see at once from the instinct and mechanical skill of animals that the will is also active where it is not guided by any knowledge The oneyearold bird has no notion of the eggs for which it builds a nest; the young spider has no idea of the prey for which it spins a web; the ant-lion has no notion of the ant for which it digs a cavity for the first time .

This and this alone gives him the key to his own phenomenon, reveals to him the significance and shows him the inner mechanism of his being, his actions, his movements. To the subject of knowing, who appears as an individual only through his identity with the body, this body is given in two entirely different ways. It is given in perception of the intellect as representation, as an object among objects, liable to the laws of these objects. But it is also given in a quite different way, namely as what is known immediately to everyone, and is denoted by the word will.

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An Introduction to Differentiable Manifolds and Riemannian Geom. by W. Boothby

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