Nietzsche on Epistemology and Metaphysics: The World in View

Nietzsche on Epistemology and Metaphysics: The World in View

Nietzsche on Epistemology and Metaphysics: The World in View

Nietzsche on Epistemology and Metaphysics: The World in View

Synopsis

Few philosophers are as widely read or as widely misunderstood as Nietzsche. In this book, Tsarina Doyle sets out to show that a specifically Kantian-informed methodology lies at the heart of Nietzsche's approach to epistemology and metaphysics. The author claims, contentiously, that both Nietzsche's early and late writings may be understood as responses to Kant's constitutive-regulative distinction at the level of epistemology and to his treatment of force and efficient causality at the level of metaphysics.

Excerpt

In Beyond Good and Evil Nietzsche emphasises the organic interrelatedness of all concepts, arguing that every concept emerges in a specific historical context, an appreciation of which is necessary to understand the concept. in light of this view it is incumbent on any interpreter of Nietzsche’s writings to attempt to understand those writings in the historical context in which they emerged and developed. Writing in a letter dated 1866, ‘Kant, Schopenhauer and this book by Lange – I do not need anything else’, Nietzsche tells us quite clearly that the historical soil and climate in which his own ideas are given birth and nourished are those of modern philosophy, with the writings of Immanuel Kant at the top of the list.

In the course of the present study I seek to engage in an issue-led investigation of Nietzsche’s writings, viewing them in terms of their interaction with and response to the philosophy of Kant. Our aim here is to disclose philosophical issues that were of concern to Nietzsche, using Kant ‘as a strong magnifying glass with which one can make visible a general but furtive state of distress which is hard to get hold of’. Allowing Nietzsche’s engagement with Kant to light the way, the study excavates the specifically philosophical side of Nietzsche, the side of him that celebrates a ‘basic will of knowledge which commands from deep within… something ever more precise’, a characteristic which, Nietzsche claims, ‘alone is fitting for a philosopher’. Despite the fact that Nietzsche employs a notoriously unsystematic writing style, which enacts his views, for example, on the need to ‘read slowly, deeply looking cautiously before and aft’, he nonetheless warns us that this does not warrant the conclusion that systematic arguments are lacking in his writings. in ‘Assorted Opinions and Maxims’ he writes, ‘Against the shortsighted. Do you think this work must be fragmentary because I give it to you (and have to give it to you) in fragments?’ Therefore, the present study offers . . .

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