SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Gestering, Johann Joachim Artur (1982) Historical Change in the Metaphysical Concept of Pessimism in German Thought (1813-1973): Reaction to Indian Philosophy. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

[img] PDF - Submitted Version
Download (16MB)


(1) This historical comparative philosophical analysis studies the function of Indian thought in German metaphysical pessimism. The discussion follows a line of primary focusing points which ensue consecutively from the range of changing views (presented in part I) held by a selection of German representatives of pessimism. Each one of them is introduced throng his writings and analysed both with regard to his pessimism and his Indian connections, as far as possible. This analytical process isolates the most essential cues and concepts. These mark the development of our understanding of the thinker himself (i.e. his form of pessimism), and provide the special connection points through which he can be linked with the other pessimists. In this manner an intra-German set of historical relationships is established. (2) The isolated cues and concepts, furthermore, formally provide the first links with that actual Indian sphere of thought (part II) which appears to be responsible for exerting some more or less specific influence on the individual views of the German thinkers. This hypothetical assumption of a pessimistic German response to Indian thought is centred on a second set of historical relationships, namely, those between the various German views and the sphere of Indian philosophy. (3) The comparative character of this study necessitates a special methodology in order to bridge the natural gap between the German (European) and the Indian tradition of thought. The greater part of the Introduction has, therefore, been allotted to the exposition of a hermeneutic approach to the problem. This hermeneutic is essentially a connective device. It makes it possible to focus the comparative argument on the Indian conceptions behind the (supposedly Indian bat, in fact, German) cues and concepts in question. (4) The combined analysis implies a redefinition of the concept of metaphysical pessimism.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:20

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item