Arthur Schopenhauer Kan Menneskets frie Villie bevises af dets Selvbevidsthed?

Kjetil Steinsholt


In 1837 the Trondheim-based Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences puzzled about the freedom of the human will, and to overcome its perplexity, the Society decided to sponsor a prize-essay contest. In April the same year, Arthur Schopenhauer came across an announcement for the contest in the Halle Literary Journal. The philosopher was immediately intrigued by the question for the contest, «Can the freedom of the human will be deduced from self-consciousness?», and he felt compelled to answer it. It came in three dissertations. One of these was written by a virtually unknown German philosopher who had previously published a book titled «The World as will and idea», and in March 1820 attempted to gain entry to the University of Berlin by challenging Hegel; namely Arthur Schopenhauer. While the King (Carl Johan) birthday was celebrated in the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences in Trondheim 26. January 1839, Schopenhauer was awarded the great gold medal for his thesis with the motto «La liberté est un Mystere», a work which later was titled «The freedom of the will.» In addition to the gold medal, which the philosopher valued highly, he was also named a member of the Society. Some months later Schopenhauer decided to resolve the perplexity of the Royal Danish Society for Scientific Studies priceessay competition on the question of the foundation for morality. He sent his entry «On the Foundation of Morality» to the Royal Danish Society 26. July 1839. The essay was deemed not worthy of wearing the crown because its author (according to the evaluation committee) had misunderstood the question. Schopenhauer was disappointed and extremely furious.

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DKNVS Skrifter 250 år 1761-2011