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Encyclopedia > The World as Will and Representation

Published in 1819, The World as Will and Representation, sometimes translated as The World as Will and Idea (original German title: Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung), is the central work of Arthur Schopenhauer. Arthur Schopenhauer (February 22, 1788 – September 21, 1860) was a German philosopher. ...

Contents

Relationship to earlier philosophical work

The main body of the work states at the beginning that it assumes prior knowledge of Immanuel Kant's theories, and Schopenhauer is regarded by some as remaining more faithful to Kant's metaphysical system of transcendental idealism than any of the other later German Idealists. However, the book contains an appendix entitled Criticism of the Kantian Philosophy in which Schopenhauer rejects most of Kant's ethics and significant parts of his epistemology and aesthetics. Immanuel Kant (22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804), was a German philosopher from Königsberg in East Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia). ... Transcendental idealism is a doctrine founded by 18th-century German philosopher Immanuel Kant. ... German Idealism was a philosophical movement in Germany in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. ... Criticism of the Kantian Philosophy Schopenhauer appended this criticism to the first volume of his The World as Will and Representation. ... Ethics (from the Ancient Greek ēthikos, the adjective of ēthos custom, habit), a major branch of philosophy, is the study of values and customs of a person or group and covers the analysis and employment of concepts such as right and wrong, good and evil, and responsibility. ... It has been suggested that Meta-epistemology be merged into this article or section. ... The Parthenons facade showing an interpretation of golden rectangles in its proportions. ...


Schopenhauer believed that Kant had ignored inner experience, as intuited through the will, which was the most important form of experience. Schopenhauer saw the human will as our one window to the world behind the representation; the Kantian thing-in-itself. He believed, therefore, that we could gain knowledge about the thing-in-itself, something Kant said was impossible, since the rest of the relationship between representation and thing-in-itself could be understood by analogy to the relationship between human will and human body. According to Schopenhauer, the entire world is the representation of a single Will, of which our individual wills are phenomena. In this way, Schopenhauer's metaphysics go beyond the limits that Kant had set, but do not go so far as the rationalist system-builders that preceded Kant. Other important differences are Schopenhauer's rejection of eleven of Kant's twelve categories, arguing that only causality was important. Matter and causality were both seen as a union of time and space and thus being equal to each other. Bryan Magee rather sensationally called this a prototype for the theory of relativity. // For the racing driver, see Will Power. ... In the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, a noumenon or thing in itself (German Ding an sich) is an unknowable, undescribable reality that, in some way, lies behind observed phenomena. ... It has been suggested that this article be split into multiple articles accessible from a disambiguation page. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... It has been suggested that this article be split into multiple articles accessible from a disambiguation page. ... Look up time in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Space has been an interest for philosophers and scientists for much of human history. ... Bryan Magee (born April 12, 1930) is a noted British broadcasting personality, politician, and author, best known as a popularizer of philosophy. ... Two-dimensional analogy of space-time curvature described in General Relativity. ...


Schopenhauer also frequently acknowledges drawing on Plato in the development of his theories and, particularly in the context of aesthetics, speaks of the Platonic forms as existing on an intermediate ontological level between the representation and the Will. For other uses, see Plato (disambiguation). ... The Theory of Forms typically refers to Platos belief that the material world as it seems to us is not the real world, but only a shadow of the real world. ... In philosophy, ontology (from the Greek , genitive : of being (part. ...


Many of the views articulated in Will and Representation are also closely related to those of Spinoza and Leibniz, but Schopenhauer rarely remarks on the influence of these thinkers. Baruch Spinoza Benedictus de Spinoza (November 24, 1632 - February 21, 1677), named Baruch Spinoza by his synagogue elders and known as Bento de Spinoza or Bento dEspiñoza in the community in which he grew up. ... Gottfried Leibniz Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (July 1, 1646 in Leipzig - November 14, 1716 in Hannover) was a German philosopher, scientist, mathematician, diplomat, librarian, and lawyer of Sorb descent. ...


Development of the work

The development of Schopenhauer's ideas took place very early in his career and culminated in the publication of the first volume of Will and Representation in 1819. This first volume consisted of four books - covering his epistemology, ontology, aesthetics and ethics, in order. Much later in his life, in 1844, Schopenhauer published a second volume which consisted of clarifications to and additional reflections on the first. His views did not change substantially. 1819 common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... In philosophy, ontology (from the Greek , genitive : of being (part. ... Jan. ...


Will

Schopenhauer used the word "will" as a human's most familiar designation for the concept that can also be signified by other words such as "desire", "striving", "wanting", "effort" and "urging".


Representation

He used the word representation (Vorstellung) to signify the mental idea or image of any object that is experienced as being external to the mind. It is sometimes translated as idea or presentation. This concept includes the representation of the observing subject's own body. Schopenhauer called the subject's own body the immediate object because it is in the closest proximity to the mind, which is located in the brain.


Epistemology (Vol. 1, Book 1)

As was mentioned above, Schopenhauer's notion of the will comes from the Kantian things-in-itself, which Kant believed to be the fundamental reality behind the representation which provided the matter of perception, but lacked form. Kant believed that space, time, causation, and many other similar phenomena belonged properly to the form imposed on the world by the human mind in order to create the representation, and these factors were absent from the thing-in-itself. Schopenhauer pointed out that anything outside of time and space could not be differentiated, so the thing-in-itself must be one and all things that exist, including human beings, must be part of this fundamental unity. Our inner-experience must be a manifestation of the noumenal realm and the will is the inner kernel of every being. All knowledge gained of objects is seen as self-referential, as we recognize the same will in other things as is inside us.


Ontology (Vol. 1, Book 2)

In Book Two, electricity and gravity are described as fundamental forces of the will. Knowledge is something that was invented to serve the will and is present in both animals and humans. It is subordinate to the demands of the will for all animals and most humans. The fundamental nature of the universe and everything in it is seen as this will. Schopenhauer presents a pessimistic picture on which unfulfilled desires are painful, and pleasure is merely the sensation experienced at the instant one such pain is removed. However, most desires are never fulfilled, and those that are fulfilled are instantly replaced by more unfulfilled ones. Lightning strikes during a night-time thunderstorm. ... Gravity is a force of attraction that acts between bodies that have mass. ... Personification of knowledge (Greek Επιστημη, Episteme) in Celsus Library in Ephesos, Turkey. ...


Aesthetics (Vol. 1, Book 3)

Like many other aesthetic theories, Schopenhauer's centers on the concept of genius. Genius, according to Schopenhauer, is possessed by all people in varying degrees and consists of the capacity for aesthetic experience. An aesthetic experience occurs when an individual perceives an object and understands by it not the individual object itself, but the Platonic form of the object. The individual is then able to lose himself in the object of contemplation and, for a brief moment, escape the cycle of unfulfilled desire by becoming "the pure subject of will-less knowing." Those who have a high degree of genius can be taught to communicate these aesthetic experiences to others, and objects which communicate these experiences are works of art. Based on this theory, Schopenhauer viewed Dutch still-life as the best type of painting, because it was able to help viewers see beauty in ordinary, everyday objects. However, he sharply criticized those which depicted nude women or prepared food as these sorts of depictions tend to stimulate desire, and thus hinder the viewer from having the aesthetic experience and becoming "the pure subject of will-less knowing." The Parthenons facade showing an interpretation of golden rectangles in its proportions. ... A genius is a person with great intelligence. ... According to Platonic realism, universals exist in a realm (often so called) that is separate from space and time; one might say that universals have a sort of ghostly or heavenly mode of existence, but, at least in more modern versions of Platonism, such a description is probably more misleading... A still life is a work of art depicting inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which may be either natural (flowers, game, sea shells and the like) or man-made (drinking glasses, foodstuffs, pipes, books and so on). ...


Music also occupies a privileged place in Schopenhauer's aesthetics, as he believed it to have a special relationship to the will. Where other forms of art are imitations of things perceived in the world, music is a direct copy of the will.


Ethics (Vol. 1, Book 4)

Schopenhauer claims in this book to set forth a purely descriptive account of human ethical behavior, in which he identifies two types of behavior: the affirmation and denial of the will. This is similar to Nietzsche's account of "master" and "slave" morality. Ethics (from the Ancient Greek Ä“thikos, the adjective of Ä“thos custom, habit), a major branch of philosophy, is the study of values and customs of a person or group and covers the analysis and employment of concepts such as right and wrong, good and evil, and responsibility. ... Friedrich Nietzsche, 1882 Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (October 15, 1844 - August 25, 1900) was a highly influential German philosopher. ...


According to Schopenhauer, the Will (that is, the great Will which is the thing-in-itself, not the individual wills of humans and animals which are phenomena of the Will) conflicts with itself through the egoism that every human and animal is endowed with. Compassion arises from a transcendence of this egoism (the penetration of the illusory perception of individuality, so that one can empathise with the suffering of another) and can serve as a clue to the possibility of going beyond desire and the will. Schopenhauer categorically denies the existence of the "freedom of the will" in the conventional sense, and only adumbrates how the will can be "released" or negated, but is not subject to change, and serves as the root of the chain of causal determinism. His praise for asceticism led him to think highly of Buddhism and Vedanta Hinduism, as well as some monastic sects of Catholicism. He expressed contempt for Protestantism, Judaism, and Islam, which he saw as optimistic, devoid of metaphysics and cruel to animals. However, he viewed the Bible and a great deal of other religious literature as containing a great deal of truth below the surface. For instance, Schopenhauer noted that virtually all religions have a concept of eternal justice; that is, an ultimate cosmic justice that can be seen in the universe by expanding the realm of consideration beyond the life of a single individual. According to Schopenhauer, the deep truth of the matter is that in cases of the over-affirmation of the will – that is, cases where one individual exerts his will not only for its own fulfillment but for the improper domination of others – he is unaware that he is really identical with the person he is harming, so that the Will in fact constantly harms itself, and justice is done in the moment in which the crime is committed, since the same metaphysical individual is both the perpetrator and the victim. In the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, a noumenon or thing in itself (German Ding an sich) is an unknowable, undescribable reality that, in some way, lies behind observed phenomena. ... Psychological egoism is the view that humans are always motivated by self-interest, even in what seem to be acts of altruism. ... Empathy is the recognition and understanding of the states of mind, beliefs, desires, and, particularly, emotions of others. ... It has been suggested that this article be split into multiple articles accessible from a disambiguation page. ... Determinism is the philosophical proposition that every event, including human cognition, decision and action, is causally determined by an unbroken chain of prior occurrences. ... Ascetic redirects here. ... Buddhism is a dharmic, non-theistic religion and a philosophy. ... This article includes a list of works cited but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... Hinduism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... As a Christian ecclesiastical term, Catholic - from the Greek adjective , meaning general or universal[1] - is described in the Oxford English Dictionary as follows: ~Church, (originally) whole body of Christians; ~, belonging to or in accord with (a) this, (b) the church before separation into Greek or Eastern and Latin or... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people. ... Islam (Arabic:  ) is a monotheistic religion based upon the teachings of Muhammad, a 7th century Arab religious and political figure. ... Plato and Aristotle (right), by Raphael (Stanza della Segnatura, Rome). ... This Gutenberg Bible is displayed by the United States Library of Congress. ...


Schopenhauer discusses suicide at length, noting that it does not actually destroy the Will or any part of it in any substantial way, since death is merely the end of one particular phenomenon of the Will, which is subsequently rearranged. By asceticism, the ultimate denial of the will, one can slowly weaken the individual will in a way that is far more significant than violent suicide, which is, in fact, in some sense an affirmation of the will. Ascetic redirects here. ...


The ultimate conclusion is that one can have a tolerable life not by complete elimination of desire, as in Buddhism, since this would lead to boredom, but by becoming a detached observer of one's own will and being constantly aware that most of one's desires will remain unfulfilled.


Criticism of the Kantian Philosophy (Vol. 1, Appendix)

At the end of Book 4, Schopenhauer appended a thorough discussion of the merits and faults of Kant's philosophy. Schopenhauer's criticism of the Kantian philosophy asserted that Kant's greatest error was the failure to distinguish between intuitive knowledge and conceptual, verbal knowledge. Schopenhauer appended a criticism to the first volume of his The World as Will and Representation. ...


Volume 2

The second volume consisted of several essays expanding topics covered in the first. Most important are his reflections on death and his theory on sexuality, which saw it as a manifestation of the whole will making sure that it will live on and depriving humans of their reason and sanity in their longing for their loved ones. While this has been much improved on since, his honesty on the subject is unusual for the time and the central role of sexuality in human life is now widely accepted. Less successful is his theory of genetics: he argued that humans inherit their will, and thus their character, from their fathers, but their intellect from their mothers and he provides examples from biographies of great figures to illustrate this theory; unfortunately for Schopenhauer, there has been no evidence in the science of genetics to back up his claims (nor to specifically deny them). The second volume also contain what many readers view as attacks on contemporary philosophers such as Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... It has been suggested that reasoning be merged into this article or section. ... For a non-technical introduction to the topic, please see Introduction to genetics. ... Johann Gottlieb Fichte Johann Gottlieb Fichte (May 19, 1762 - January 27, 1814) has significance in the history of Western philosophy as one of the progenitors of German idealism and as a follower of Kant. ... Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling (January 27, 1775 - August 20, 1854) was a German philosopher. ... Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (August 27, 1770 - November 14, 1831) was a German philosopher born in Stuttgart, Württemberg, in present-day southwest Germany. ...


The contents of Volume II are as follows.


Supplements to the First Book


First Half


The Doctrine of the Representation of Perception Through § 1 – 7 of


Volume I


Chapter


I. On the Fundamental View of Idealism


II. On the Doctrine of Knowledge of Perception or Knowledge of the


Understanding


III. On the Senses


IV. On Knowledge a Priori


Second Half


The Doctrine of the Abstract Representation or of Thinking


Chapter


V. On the Intellect Devoid of Reason


VI. On the Doctrine of Abstract Knowledge, or Knowledge of Reason


VII. On the Relation of Knowledge of Perception to Abstract Knowledge


VIII. On the Theory of the Ludicrous


IX. On Logic in General


X. On the Science of Syllogisms


XI. On Rhetoric


XII. On the Doctrine of Science


XIII. On the Methods of Mathematics


XIV. On the Association of Ideas


XV. On the Essential Imperfections of the Intellect


XVI. On the Practical Use of Our Reason and on Stoicism


XVII. On Man's Need for Metaphysics


Supplements to the Second Book


Chapter


XVIII. On the Possibility of Knowing the Thing-in-Itself


XIX. On the Primacy of the Will in Self-Consciousness


XX. Objectification of the Will in the Animal Organism


XXI. Retrospect and More General Consideration


XXII. Objective View of the Intellect


XXIII. On the objectification of the Will in Nature without Knowledge


XXIV. On Matter


XXV. Transcendent Considerations on the Will as Thing-in-Itself


XXVI. On Teleology


XXVII. On Instinct and Mechanical Tendency


XXVIII. Characterization of the Will-to-Live


Supplements to the Third Book


Chapter


XXIX. On Knowledge of the Ideas


XXX. On the Pure Subject of Knowing


XXXI. On Genius


XXXII. On Madness


XXXIII. Isolated Remarks on Natural Beauty


XXXIV. On the Inner Nature of Art


XXXV. On the Aesthetics of Architecture


XXXVI. Isolated Remarks on the Aesthetics of the Plastic and Pictorial Arts


XXXVII. On the Aesthetics of Poetry


XXXVIII. On History


XXXIX. On the Metaphysics of Music


Supplements to the Fourth Book


Chapter


XL. Preface


XLI. On Death and Its Relation to the Indestructibility of Our Inner nature


XLII. Life of the Species


XLIII. The Hereditary Nature of Qualities


XLIV. The Metaphysics of Sexual Love


Appendix to the Preceding Chapter


XLV. On the Affirmation of the Will-to-Live


XLVI. On the Vanity and Suffering of Life


XLVII. On Ethics


XLVIII. On the Doctrine of the Denial of the Will-to-Live


XLIX. The Road to Salvation


L. Epiphilosophy


Influence

The value of this work is much disputed. Some rank Schopenhauer as one of the most original and inspiring of all philosophers, whilst others see him as inconsistent and too pessimistic. Whilst his name is less well known outside Germany, he has had a huge impact on psychoanalysis and the works of Freud; some researchers have even questioned whether Freud was telling the truth when he said that he had not read Schopenhauer until his old age. The notion of the subconscious is present in Schopenhauer's will and his theory of madness was consistent with this. Also, his theory on masochism is still now widely proposed by doctors. Nietzsche, Popper, Tolstoy, and the composer Richard Wagner were all strongly influenced by his work. Arthur Schopenhauer Arthur Schopenhauer (February 22, 1788 – September 21, 1860) was a German philosopher born in Gdańsk (Danzig), Poland. ... Psychoanalysis is a family of psychological theories and methods based on the work of Sigmund Freud. ... Sigmund Freud His famous couch Sigmund Freud (May 6, 1856 - September 23, 1939) was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of the psychoanalytic school of psychology, a movement that popularized the theory that unconscious motives control much behavior. ... Agnolo Bronzino, Allegorie der Liebe (1540/45) Insanity, or madness, is a general term for a semi-permanent, severe mental disorder. ... Flogging demonstration at Folsom Street Fair 2004. ... Friedrich Nietzsche, 1882 Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (October 15, 1844 - August 25, 1900) was a highly influential German philosopher. ... Popper may refer to: A popping dancer. ... Coat of arms of Count Leo Tolstoy This article is about the Tolstoy family; for the famous novelist, see Leo Tolstoy. ... Wilhelm Richard Wagner (May 22, 1813 – February 13, 1883) was an influential German composer, conductor, music theorist, and essayist, primarily known for his operas (or music dramas as he later came to call them). ...


Schopenhauer's discussion of language was a major influence on Ludwig Wittgenstein. Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (IPA: ) (April 26, 1889 – April 29, 1951) was an Austrian philosopher who contributed several ground-breaking ideas to philosophy, primarily in the foundations of logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of language, and the philosophy of mind. ...


He was the first philosopher to explicitly call himself an atheist (Hume only ever confessed to being agnostic). However, many interpreters see his account of the Will as closely resembling classic examples of pantheism, especially as propounded by Upnishads and Vedanta philosophy. Schopenhauer even believed in the theory of evolution, before Darwin began to publish his work. His interest in Eastern philosophy brought new ideas to the West. His respect for the rights of animals – including a vehement opposition to vivisection - has led many modern animal rights activists to look up to him. The Animal Liberation Front commends him on their website[1]. For information about the band, see Atheist (band). ... Hume is the name of several people: Most likely it refers to: David Hume, (1711-76) 18th-century Scottish philosopher It can also refer to: Alexander Hamilton Hume (1797-1873) Australian explorer Allan Octavian Hume, English ornithologist Basil Cardinal Hume, former Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster Brit Hume, journalist best known... The term agnosticism and the related agnostic were coined by Thomas Henry Huxley in 1869. ... Pantheism (Greek: pan = all and Theos = God) literally means God is All and All is God. It is the view that everything is of an all-encompassing immanent God; or that the universe, or nature, and God are equivalent. ... The Upanishads (उपनिषद्, Upanişad) are part of the Hindu Shruti scriptures which primarily discuss meditation and philosophy and are seen as religious instructions by most schools of Hinduism. ... This article includes a list of works cited but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... This article is about evolution in biology. ... For other people of the same surname, and places and things named after Charles Darwin, see Darwin. ... This does not cite its references or sources. ... Etymologically, vivisection refers to the dissection of, or any cutting or surgery upon, a living animal including humans. ... A civet, or sea fox, photographed in the Zigong Peoples Zoo, Sichuan, 2001. ... Beagles removed by British ALF activists from a testing laboratory owned by the Boots Group. ...


Criticism

  • Kant saw inner-sense as subject to time. Schopenhauer was thus violating Kant's laws when he said that the thing-in-itself could be known through inner-experience.
  • The concepts of time and space in the work have since been supplanted by the concept of spacetime.
  • The will is seen as blind and chaotic, yet it manifests itself in teleological nature, in the phenomenal realm. To explain this, Schopenhauer employs Plato's Ideas as an intermediary, but many believe that his explanation of their place in his overall ontology is ad hoc and poorly motivated.
  • Schopenhauer's view on suicide is widely misunderstood and ridiculed. It seems to have been taken from Buddhist teachings on the subject, yet Schopenhauer did not believe in thorough-going reincarnation. To many, it seems to be of little importance to the man that has committed suicide and left the horrors of the world behind that the Will lives on afterwards.
  • He contradicts himself over asceticism. At times, he says that it involves the most terrible pain, yet he also says that it leads to a cheerfulness that contrasts with the restless suffering of those that still will. Also, he mentions accounts of ascetics feeding themselves to crocodiles and being buried alive as examples of the denial of the will, but then says that the only form of suicide that involves a denial of the will comes from starvation.
  • Perhaps the strongest criticism for most people is that Schopenhauer preached asceticism as the answer to the problems of the world, yet made no attempt to practice what he preached. He conserved his money stringently, ate at fancy restaurants and had more than one affair. He wrote, "In general, it is a strange demand on a moralist that he should commend no other virtue than that which he himself possesses." (The World as Will and Representation, Vol. I, § 68) However, some accounts of his life in philosophy dictionaries tend to pay a great deal of attention to his private life and exaggerate parts. Bertrand Russell produced a very derogatory article on Schopenhauer in this tone. The infamous story of him throwing a woman down a stairs is often told without mentioning the provocation he received beforehand or the possibility of deception on her part. Another point on this subject, is Schopenhauer's own claim that his ethical theories are purely descriptive rather than prescriptive. If this is to be taken seriously, then he does not "preach" any "practice," but merely describes the manner in which human beings behave.
  • Schopenhauer's understanding of Hinduism is a popular misconception. The concept "Thou art That" suggests not negation, but assimilation (of the individual with the whole).

Look up time in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Space has been an interest for philosophers and scientists for much of human history. ... In physics, spacetime is a mathematical model that combines space and time into a single construct called the space-time continuum. ... Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell OM FRS (18 May 1872 – 2 February 1970), was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician and advocate for social reform. ... Hinduism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ...

References

  • Schopenhauer, Arthur. The World as Will and Representation. Dover. Volume I, ISBN 0-486-21761-2. Volume II, ISBN 0-486-21762-0

Arthur Schopenhauer Arthur Schopenhauer (February 22, 1788 – September 21, 1860) was a German philosopher born in Gdańsk (Danzig), Poland. ...

See also

Schopenhauer appended a criticism to the first volume of his The World as Will and Representation. ... On the Freedom of the Will was an essay presented to the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences in 1839 by Arthur Schopenhauer as a response to the academic question that they had posed. ... Schopenhauers criticism of the proofs of the Parallel Postulate Schopenhauer criticized mathematicians attempts to prove Euclids Parallel Postulate because they try to prove from indirect concepts that which is directly evident from perception. ... Schopenhauers criticism of Kants schemata is part of Schopenhauers criticism of the Kantian philosophy which was published in 1819. ...

External Links


  Results from FactBites:
 
The World as Will and Representation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2147 words)
Published in 1819, The World as Will and Representation, sometimes translated as The World as Will and Idea (original German title, Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung), is generally regarded as the central work of Arthur Schopenhauer.
According to Schopenhauer, the Will (that is, the great Will which is the thing-in-itself, not the individual wills of humans and animals which are phenomena of the Will) conflicts with itself through the egoism that every human and animal is endowed with.
The notion of the subconscious is present in Schopenhauer's will and his theory of madness was consistent with this.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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