Arthur Schopenhauer (22 February 1788 – 21 September 1860) was a German philosopher. His works on aesthetics, psychology, and morality are highly influential. Schopenhauer believed that people were motivated only by their own basic desires which were futile, illogical, and directionless.
His works on aesthetics argued that art can be used to escape pain and also criticized mathematicians for using indirect theory to prove things that Schopenhauer believed were able to be directly observed. On ethics, he contended that only compassion can drive moral acts. He also supported capital punishment and believed that imprisonment was necessary to deter future crimes by future criminals. Although he argues that the state should play a role in criminal justice, he was generally a proponent of a limited government. He also opposed slavery but argued that “white races” were inherently superior to those of darker skin colors. He also believed that women were designed to obey and opposed monogamy. On eugenics, Schopenhauer believed that intellect was inherited from one’s father.
Schopenhauer, Arthur. The World as Will and Representation. Vol. 1. Courier Corporation, 2012
Schopenhauer, Arthur, and Eric Francis Jules Payne. On the Basis of Morality. Hackett Publishing, 1995
Schopenhauer, Arthur. Studies in Pessimism: A Series of Essays. Macmillan & Company, 1893