History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

Darwiniana header image 2

Schopenhauer and the key to archaic monotheism

May 4th, 2015 · 6 Comments

I have often noted the way in my own case I have cycled back and forth between atheism, theism many times. One can rediscover the relevance of the ‘god’ idea in so many ways that any hope thought (which is itself ridden with such ‘dualities’) will settle on one alternative seems unrealistic. For good Kantian reasons.
One easy way to get from atheism back to, well, theism of a sort, is through contemplating (the atheist?) Schopenhauer’s thesis of the ‘Will’: and this echoes an unknown ancient version of theology. We can banish ‘god’ from the realm of the ‘phenomenon’ or ‘representation’, but we can also consider that the constant reckoning with the issue of the ‘existence’ of god has confused us. God’s existence, if we allowed such a loaded phrase to stand, would only stand as representation to the ‘thing in itself’ ( I prefer the term ‘noumenal’ which Schopenhauer disliked) beyond ‘existence’ in physical space, perhaps (I am not sure how this works in transcendental idealism where ‘space’ figmentizes as ???). This then is, what? In Kant the noumenal is unknowable. But in Schopenhauer, there appears to be some way of considering the ‘thing in itself’ in the category of ‘WILL’.
Well there you have it: the two poles of thought pervading monotheistic theology: the ‘existing god’ and the mystery beyond representation (of the idol ‘god’) of the unknown, the ‘will of god’, as a pointing to of an unknown noumenal/thing in itself….You might have noticed this is the way that centuries of men have taken the question in variants more or less like the above.
This summarizes neatly millennia of thinking on the issue of ‘god’.

Tags: General

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 NK // May 4, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Unger’s religion essays:


  • 2 nemo // May 6, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Give us some background here…

  • 3 NK // May 6, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    I haven’t had time to delve into these, but this is Smolin’s co-writer on his latest book.

  • 4 nemo // May 7, 2015 at 7:40 am

    which I just purchased and opened to a page about neo-classical economics…

  • 5 NK // May 7, 2015 at 8:05 am

    No, you got Smolin’s previous book. This is the latest book:


  • 6 nemo // May 8, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    You are right, and now I am out of money.

    From the site: Cosmology is in crisis. The more we discover, the more puzzling the universe appears to be. How and why are the laws of nature what they are? A philosopher and a physicist, world-renowned for their radical ideas in their fields, argue for a revolution. To keep cosmology scientific, we must replace the old view in which the universe is governed by immutable laws by a new one in which laws evolve. Then we can hope to explain them. The revolution that Roberto Mangabeira Unger and Lee Smolin propose relies on three central ideas. There is only one universe at a time. Time is real: everything in the structure and regularities of nature changes sooner or later. Mathematics, which has trouble with time, is not the oracle of nature and the prophet of science; it is simply a tool with great power and immense limitations. The argument is readily accessible to non-scientists as well as to the physicists and cosmologists whom it challenges.

Leave a Comment