Pessimism controversy

The pessimism controversy or pessimism dispute (German: Pessimismusstreit) is a largely forgotten intellectual controversy that occurred in Germany, starting in the 1860s and ending around the beginning of the First World War.[1][2] Philosophers who took part included Friedrich Nietzsche,[3] Eugen Dühring, Eduard von Hartmann, neo-Kantians, Agnes Taubert, Olga Plümacher and critics of Hartmann.[2] The controversy first arose as a response to Arthur Schopenhauer's growing posthumous public recognition in the 1860s. This led to the publication of a wide array of criticisms, attacking his pessimism.[2] The publication of von Hartmann's Philosophy of the Unconscious, in 1869, which reaffirmed and further developed Schopenhauer's doctrine, reinvigorated the controversy. Hartmann published a great number of articles and four books in response to his critics, throughout the 1870s and 1880s. Agnes Taubert (Von Hartmann's wife) published Pessimism and Its Opponents, in 1873, in response to criticism of her husband, which had a strong influence on the controversy.[4] The German-American philosopher Amalie J. Hathaway has been described as an unrecognised contributor to the controversy.[5]

The controversy developed as a response to Arthur Schopenhauer's growing posthumous popularity in Germany

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Beiser, Frederick C. (2016). "The Pessimism Controversy, 1870–1890". Weltschmerz: Pessimism in German Philosophy, 1860–1900. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198768715.001.0001. ISBN 9780198768715.
  2. ^ a b c Beiser, Frederick C. (2016). "The Pessimism Controversy". After Hegel: German Philosophy, 1840–1900. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691173719.
  3. ^ Stern, Tom (2020), Wicks, Robert L. (ed.), "Nietzsche's Schopenhauer", The Oxford Handbook of Schopenhauer, Oxford University Press, pp. 478–496, doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190660055.013.26, ISBN 978-0-19-066005-5, retrieved 2021-01-02
  4. ^ Stern, Tom (2019). "Nietzche's Ethics of Affirmation". In Stern, Tom (ed.). The New Cambridge Companion to Nietzsche. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 352. ISBN 9781316676264.
  5. ^ Bensick, Carol (2018-04-12). "An Unknown American Contribution to the German Pessimism Controversy: Amalie J. Hathaway's 'Schopenhauer'". Blog of the APA. Retrieved 2021-02-06.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)