Nietzsche Unbound: The Struggle for Spirit in the Age of Science

Nietzsche Unbound: The Struggle for Spirit in the Age of Science

Nietzsche Unbound: The Struggle for Spirit in the Age of Science

Nietzsche Unbound: The Struggle for Spirit in the Age of Science

Excerpt

Gradually it has become clear to me what every great philosophy
so far has been: namely, the personal confession of its author and
a kind of involuntary and unconscious memoir….

Beyond Good and' Evil, § 6

A brief indication of the enemy that the majority of Nietzsche's energies are directed against will help to clarify the nature of the project carried out in the ensuing chapters. As will be discovered upon further examination of Nietzsche's works, nothing is simple and no preliminary account can stand for long without extensive qualifications and caveats. The theme addressed here is the dominant recurring motif of this book and will be elaborated with major and minor variations as the context grows more determinate and complex. This sketch is thus merely intended to provide a preliminary idea of the Goliath Nietzsche is out to slay—or from which he at least desires to escape.

In the second preface to The Birth of Tragedy, written years after this first book of Nietzsche's had been published, he states that, despite the many flaws with which he now finds the book to be riddled, he still appreciates that in it he got hold of a problem that continues to preoccupy him in his present work: “the problem of science.” This slogan, “the problem of science,” is one that is densely packed with meanings. First, “science” here stands for the German term Wissenschaft., a notoriously problematic term to translate because of its breadth of meaning in German. This term covers both the Naturwissenschaften and the Geisteswissenschaften broadly, our natural and mathematical sciences as opposed to our humanities and social sciences. Daniel Breazeale offers the following explanation of the term in a note to his translation of selections from Nietzsche's notebooks from the early 1870s:

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