Lecture Leonhard de Paepe

Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (NL)

Lecture on the metaphysical dimension in Schopenhauer's writings.


Schopenhauer is perhaps the last major voice in German Idealism, which was then overruled by the rise of the natural sciences and positivism. Schopenhauer’s influence is underestimated. He had decisive influence on Freud, and the development of psycho-analysis, several nobel price winners like Thomas Mann, Tolstoj, Imre Kertesz and Knut Hamsun, a generation of artists like Wagner and later Rothko and of course Nietzsche and Wittgenstein.

Schopenhauer’s philosophy is subject of new interest amongst intellectuals. Perhaps for his introduction of Asian (notably the Indian Vedas) thought in western philosophy. His pessimism is a fundamental character trait in his entire philosophy and leads towards a metaphysical salvation in arts, religion and death.

In this lecture Leonhard de Paepe discusses the metaphysical dimension of his philosophy in which morality, art and religion seem to coincide, with special attention to the notion of ‘genious’.

Reading list:

Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation


After studying fine arts at the Willem de Kooning Academy (Rotterdam (NL)), Leonhard de Paepe (NL) studied philosophy in Rotterdam and Berlin (GE). He graduated Cum Laude after writing his MA thesis on the philosophy of aesthetics.

De Paepe was editor at the Dutch newspaper Trouw, in addition to writing book reviews for the newspaper NRC Handelsblad. He taught political philosophy and aesthetics by Jacques Rancière at the Willem de Kooning Academy and Fontys Collge in Tilburg.