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[The reader will have to study Schopenhauer for himself to decide if the great German philosopher proves that he, too, is a jackass.]

Schopenhauer despised Fichte and Schelling, but he hated Hegel and described him as ‘that clumsy and nauseating charlatan, that pernicious person, who completely disorganized and ruined the minds of a whole generation.’ On almost any square foot of ground in the landscape of his writings a geyser of wrath may suddenly erupt, spewing out imprecations against the same three men. ‘What was senseless and without meaning at once took refuge in obscure exposition and language. Fichte was the first to grasp and make use of this privilege; Schelling at best equalled him in this, and a host of hungry scribblers without intellect or honesty soon surpassed them both. But the greatest effrontery in serving up sheer nonsense, in scrabbling together senseless and maddening webs of words, such as had previously been heard only in madhouses, finally appeared in Hegel...’ Hegel, said Schopenhauer, was ‘a commonplace, inane, loathsome, repulsive and ignorant charlatan, who with unparalleled effrontery compiled a system of crazy nonsense that was trumpeted abroad as immortal wisdom by his mercenary followers...’ I do not think anything in the whole history of philosophy compares with this invective by one now world-famous philosopher against another, especially when one considers that they were near-contemporaries and colleagues.

Bryan Magee (from Confessions of a Philosopher, 1997)


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