Existential Pessimism and Aesthetic Experience: Mill, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche on Life's Value

Joshua Isaac Fox
I examine how three major 19th-century philosophers – Mill, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche – confronted the problem of pessimism: the worry that life might not be worth living. I demonstrate how all three took this problem to stem from concerns about the structure of human desires and interests, concerns Mill and Nietzsche both took specifically aesthetic value to play an essential role in answering. Taken together, these thinkers’ engagement with pessimism highlights two different aspects of...
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