The 19th-century German philosopher Philipp Mainländer (1841-1876) called his two-volume Philosophie der Erlösung (Philosophy of Redemption) the “continuation of the works of Kant and Schopenhauer, and the confirmation of Buddhism and of pure Christianity.” Despite this bold syncretic claim and his established relevance to Friedrich Nietzsche (not least in the poetic summation of his own physical theory: “God has died, and His death was the life of the world”), Mainländer has until relatively recently drawn little to no scholarly attention. In this paper, I contribute to the growing understanding of Mainländer by focusing on the philosophical lineage to which he lays claim, specifically on his relation to Schopenhauer. I argue that the ostensible likeness between his and Schopenhauer’s philosophies does not withstand scrutiny. For one, Mainländer unwittingly abandons transcendental idealism; for another, he ignores or substantially changes key features of Schopenhauer’s philosophy, amongst them: the monistic concept of Will, the futility of suicide, and the principle of individuation. These differences, I suggest, are too significant to warrant the view that Mainländer is Schopenhauer’s disciple, except perhaps in the narrow sense that in his works Mainländer found the spur to and a point of reference for his own philosophical endeavours.


Christian Romuss

(University of Queensland)

Christian Romuss is a doctoral candidate and sessional academic in the School of Languages and Cultures at the University of Queensland. He is currently translating Philipp Mainländer’s Philosophie der Erlösung into English.