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Orientalism and the Figure of the Jew$
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Jeffrey S. Librett

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823262915

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823262915.001.0001

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Taking Up Groundlessness, Fulfilling Fulfillment:

Taking Up Groundlessness, Fulfilling Fulfillment:

Schopenhauer’s Orientalist Metaphysics between Indians and Jews

(p.176) Chapter 6 Taking Up Groundlessness, Fulfilling Fulfillment
Orientalism and the Figure of the Jew

Jeffrey S. Librett

Fordham University Press

This chapter examines the tensions between Schopenhauer’s very advanced thought concerning the Oriental-Occidental relationship, on the one hand, and his own inadequacy to this thought, on the other hand. Concerning the first: in principle he assumes groundlessness, rather than denying it; he makes impossible all typology; and he overcomes Eurocentrism in philosophy and religion. Concerning the second, as I show in detail, he erases these insights in various ways: he envisions the overcoming of groundlessness through the will’s self-negation; he claims a privilege for his own philosophical “letter”; and he explicitly invokes typology in contexts that are constitutive for his philosophical position. These contexts include: his treatment of the history of religion, his discussion of church-state relations, his characterization of his own ethics, and his positioning of his philosophy as a whole with respect to pantheism and Spinozism. In showing how Schopenhauer repeatedly turns against his own best (and most difficult) insights, the chapter also analyzes his virulent and influential anti-Semitism, and exposes the ways in which it is integrally related to his thought on the Orient, and to his philosophy as a whole.

Keywords:   Schopenhauer, Jews, Indians, will, groundlessness, typology, Spinozism, ethics, Eurocentrism, church and state

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