This paper attempts to reconsider Michel Henry’s interpretation of Arthur Schopenhauer’s philosophy in order to respond to Henry’s critique of Schopenhauer’s philosophy.
Henry’s interpretation of Schopenhauer’s philosophy in Généalogie de la Psychanalyse
shows an original view of Schopenhauer’s philosophy. Simultaneously, it is also remarkable that, regarding key concepts of Schopenhauer’s philosophy, there are many differences between Schopenhauer’s own definitions and Henry’s interpretation of them. While these differences can be regarded as resulting from Henry’s arbitrary interpretation, this paper rather focusses on a methodological distinction between them as an important reason for their differences and reconsiders them from this viewpoint. While in L’Essence de la Manifestation
Henry finds “affectivity” as a principle of Henry’s own thought on the one hand, in Généalogie de la Psychanalyse
on the other hand Henry reinterprets the modern history of philosophy being based on the concept of “affectivity ” as a principle so that he also reconstructs Schopenhauer’s metaphysical thought explained in Die Welt als Wile und Vorstellung
from this standpoint. Conversely, Schopenhauer’s description of metaphysics is principally based on the opposite methodology, i.e. the analytic method which starts from the given experience and attempts to reveal the higher philosophical principle. Based on this methodological distinction, this paper reconsiders Henry’s interpretation of Schopenhauer’s philosophy and attempts to respond to Henry’s critique from Schopenhauer’s standpoint, especially focussing on Henry’s critique of the concept of “will” in Schopenhauer’s philosophy. Henry claims that Schopenhauer “glimpsed but not conceptualized” the “affectivity” so that he resulted in attributing a wider meaning to the concept of “will” as a metaphysical principle. From this viewpoint, Henry claims that Schopenhauer’s identification of “will” with the metaphysical principle should be regarded as resulting from a “falsification” of the “affectivity”. However, Schopenhauer is also engaged in this problem by dealing with the “denomination” of the reality of the world and therefore answers to this problem by conceding to the concept of “analogy” as playing a central role in his metaphysics.