The order of nothingness and the phenomenal gap
In an examination of Emanuel Kant’s ‘Transcendental Idealism’ it is found that it was his inability to resolve the paradox highlighted above, expressed in a slightly different way, that was used as a criticism of his ideas. Schopenhauer’s partial resolution of that paradox, a generation later, in the early nineteenth century has remained controversial in the world of philosophy. The chapter reviews Bryan Magee’s account of Schopenhauer and the controversy that has followed him into the twenty first century. Interestingly, it is found that the same argument that was used to answer the paradox about the question of shared meaning in chapter 5, can be used here to correct and extend what Schopenhauer had to say about the arts. Furthermore, Schopenhauer’s definition of the ‘noumenon,’ the realm of ‘nothingness,’ when laid together with the explanation cultural communication as outlined above, explains how a work of art can open the reader to the ‘noumenal’ aspect of themselves. This understanding of the noumenon also help to explain how the relationship between form and content that was discussed in the early chapters can be understood to be genuinely symbiotic.