Schopenhauer, Arthur (1786–1860)
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Different from many of his contemporary colleagues, the neo-Kantian philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer enjoyed financial independence, thanks to a large inheritance from his father. His ethic of compassion, which was fully developed in his critique of Kant’s ethics, On the Basis of Morality, commands respect even today. Schopenhauer published his evaluation of homosexuality in his magnum opus The World as Will and Representation in 1859 as an extension to a paragraph on the metaphysics of sexual love. Social constructionists will criticize this claim on the basis that the term homosexuality had not entered the public or scientific debate at the time; Schopenhauer actually used the term pederasty. However, it seems beyond doubt that Schopenhauer tried to discover what the origin of homosexuality is, and whether homosexuality is, ethically speaking, a good or a bad thing. He concluded his historical survey by pointing out that same-sex love and activity had occurred at all times during recorded history and among all ethnic groups living on earth, hence, the basis for his argument that homosexuality cannot possibly be described as unnatural.