Arthur Schopenhauer

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Arthur Schopenhauer (22 February 1788 – 21 September 1860) was a German philosopher. Popular in his lifetime and thereafter, he remained the most influential German philosopher until the First World War. On the universality of Pederasty, he wrote:

Considered in itself, pederasty ... seems an act ... which would be repeated only in isolated cases at most. But if we turn to experience, we find the opposite; we see [pederasty] frequently practiced at all times and in all countries of the world, ... [I]t was generally widespread among the Greeks and Romans, and was publicly admitted and practiced unabashed. All the authors of antiquity give more than abundant proof of this. In particular, the poets one and all are full of this topic; not even the respectable Virgil is an exception. ... The philosophers also speak much more of this love than of the love of women; ... Plato seems to know of hardly any other, and likewise the Stoics, who mention it as worthy of the sage. ... Socrates speaks of pederasty as a thing blameless and even praiseworthy. ... Socrates ... speaks so exclusively of love of boys that one would imagine there were no women at all. Even Aristotle speaks of pederasty as of a usual thing, without censuring it. ... Cicero says “Among the Greeks it was regarded as disgraceful for youths not to have lovers.” ... But even among less cultured peoples ... [pederasty] was very much in vogue. (p. 561)
If we realize all this, and think it over carefully, we see pederasty appearing at all times and in all countries in a way very far removed from that which we had at first presupposed... . Thus the universal nature and persistent ineradicability ... show that it arises ... from human nature itself; since for this reason alone could it inevitably appear always and everywhere, as a proof of the saying: “Expel nature with a pitchfork, she still comes back” (Horace, Epist. 1, 10, 24.) Therefore we cannot possibly escape this conclusion if we intend to proceed openly and honestly. To overlook these facts and to rest content with reviling and rebuking ... would of course be easy; this however, is not my way of settling problems, but, faithful even here to my innate disposition to investigate truth everywhere and to get to the bottom of things, I first of all acknowledge the phenomenon ... together with the inevitable conclusion to be drawn from it. (p. 562)
Thus nature knows only the physical, not the moral, there is even a decided antagonism between [nature] and morality. ... Therefore this discussion throws light on ... a truth hitherto concealed [which has] been brought to light. In spite of its strangeness, it still sheds new light on the inner essence, the spirit, and the workings of nature. Accordingly, there was here no question of moral admonition ... but of a proper understanding of the essential nature of the matter. (pp. 564, 566).[1]


  1. From Schopenhauer, A. (1819) Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung (The World as Will and Representation) Supplements to the Fourth Book, Chapter XLIV (Metaphysics of the Love of the Sexes). Translated from the German by E. F. J. Payne (1958). Indian Hills, CO: Falcon's Wing Press. Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) studied in Göttingen and Berlin, and completed his doctorate in philosophy at Jena in 1813.