Schopenhauer’s Critique of Moralistic Theories of the State

ROBIN WINKLER
HISTORY OF POLITICAL THOUGHT 34.2 (2013): 296-323

Abstract: Arthur Schopenhauer has not traditionally been considered an important political philosopher of nineteenth-century Germany, mainly because his philosophical system lacks a substantive political theory. This article argues that Schopenhauer nevertheless merits the attention of historians of political thought, for his philosophical system affords an idiosyncratic and critical perspective on the moralistic theories of the state developed by post-Kantian philosophers in the first half of the nineteenth century. It is also argued that Schopenhauer’s system did not just entail a philosophically consistent alternative to the then dominant tendencies in political philosophy. Rather, Schopenhauer intended to intervene critically against the Romantic and Idealist discourses from which such moralistic theories of the state arose.