Schopenhauer is one of the great original writers of the nineteenth century, and a unique voice in the history of thought. His central concept of the will leads him to a pessimistic view of existence: he regards human beings as striving irrationally and suffering in a world that has no purpose. This condition can be redeemed by the elevation of aesthetic consciousness and finally overcome by the will’s self-denial and a mystical vision of the self as one with the world as a whole. He relies on the philosophy of Kant in the Critique of Pure Reason, but is in many ways progressive, an atheist with profound ideas about the human essence and the meaning of existence which point forward to Nietzsche, Freud and existentialism. He was also the first major Western thinker to seek a synthesis with Eastern thought. The module offers an examination of Schopenhauer’s epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics, as contained in The World as Will and Representation and other works.