Cosmology, Embodiment and Emotions in Arthur Schopenhauer’s Metaphysics of Music

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Although the universality of music has something in common with the universality of concepts, its universality is not one of abstraction, even though melodies, like universal concepts, are an abstraction from reality. Likewise concepts, melodies find particular cases in the world of particular things, but unlike concepts, which contain only the forms abstracted from perception, music gives us access to the innermost kernel preceding all forms, it puts us in immediate contact with the heart of things, not with their stripped-off outer shell. In other words, according to the author of The World as Will and Representation, if concepts are a fruit of the activity of understanding, music comes from an immediate knowledge of the inner nature of the world unknown to the faculty of reason. If we succeeded in giving a perfectly accurate and complete philosophical explanation of music, it would be a detailed repetition in concepts of what music expresses immediately. By doing so, we would be explaining the whole world, as it is grasped by music, and would hence obtain the true philosophy. Yet, philosophy can only lead to the unity of the plurality by the indirect and sometimes erroneous path of concepts, while music is a direct access to the cosmic dimension of the will, and therefore grasps the whole world immediately, without any possible error resulting from the imprecision of words.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTo Grasp the Whole World
Subtitle of host publicationPolitics and Aesthetics Before and After Alexander von Humboldt
EditorsSoraya Nour-Sckell, Damien Ehrhardt
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherDuncker & Humblot
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-428-58500-7
ISBN (Print)978-3-428-18500-9
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2022
EventInternational Conference on the 250th Anniversary of Alexander von Humboldt: “To Grasp the Whole World” - Faculdade de Direito da Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal
Duration: 4 Dec 2019 → …

Publication series

NameBeiträge zur Politischen Wissenschaft (BPW)
PublisherDunkler und Humblot


ConferenceInternational Conference on the 250th Anniversary of Alexander von Humboldt: “To Grasp the Whole World”
Period4/12/19 → …


  • Philosophy
  • Cosmology
  • Will
  • Representations
  • Emotions
  • Music


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