Julius Bahnsen’s Radical Pessimism

Julius Bahnsen (1830 – 1881) was a German philosopher and disciple of Arthur Schopenhauer. The historian Frederick C. Beiser, in his book Weltschmerz: Pessimism in German Philosophy, 1860–1900, describes Bahnsen’s philosophical views, along with other key German pessimistic philosophers and followers of Schopenhauer, such as Julius Frauenstädt, Eduard von Hartmann, and Philipp Mainländer.  Weltschmerz is…View Post

Can Philosophy Harm Your Mental Health?

The psychology of philosophy is a relatively new field. It refers to the relationship between psychological traits and philosophical beliefs. This field garnered significant attention recently with the publication of a new study from the psychologist David B. Yaden and the philosopher Derek E. Anderson.  Published in the journal Philosophical Psychology, this study asked 314…View Post

Book Review: Cosmic Pessimism by Eugene Thacker

Cosmic Pessimism (2015) is a collection of aphorisms, fragments, and prose poems by the philosopher Eugene Thacker. Thacker, who is also Professor of Media Studies at The New School in New York City, offers many unique thoughts on pessimism and the human condition in this very short book. He explores various themes of pessimism: futility,…View Post

Pessimism and Pandeism: Philipp Mainländer on the Death of God

Philipp Mainländer (1841 – 1876) was a German poet and philosopher, born in Offenbach am Main. He was a disciple of Arthur Schopenhauer’s philosophy and one of the patron saints of 19th century German pessimism (other notable figures belonging to this curious philosophical trend include Eduard von Hartmann and Julius Bahnsen). Unlike these other pessimists,…View Post

A Pessimist’s Guide to the Pandemic

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, along with new government measures and vaccine developments shaping its trajectory, many people are still left confused about how best to respond. Should be pessimistic or optimistic about the current situation and the future? In terms of personal well-being, an optimistic attitude is ostensibly preferable. Adjusting to the ‘new normal’…View Post