The Sense of the Past: Essays in the History of Philosophy

By Bernard Williams; Myles Burnyeat | Go to book overview

TWENTY
Nietzsche's Minimalist Moral Psychology

NIETZSCHE, WITTGENSTEIN AND THE EXTRACTION OF THEORY

Nietzsche is not a source of philosophical theories. At some level the point is obvious, but it may be less obvious how deep it goes. In this respect, there is a contrast with Wittgenstein. Wittgenstein said repeatedly, and not only in his later work, that he was not to be read as offering philosophical theory, because there could be no such thing as philosophical theory. But his work was less well prepared than Nietzsche's was to sustain that position posthumously. There is more than one reason for this.1 Wittgenstein thought that his work demanded not only the end of philosophical theory but the end of philosophy—something associated, for him, with the end of his demands on himself to do philosophy. That association, of the end of philosophical theory with the end of philosophy, does not deny the idea that if there is to be philosophy, it will take the form of theory; indeed, it readily reinforces that idea. Moreover, the topics on which Wittgenstein wanted there to be no more philosophy— the topics, for him, of philosophy—were traditional topics of academic philosophy. It is not surprising that those who continue theoretical work on those topics still look for elements in Wittgenstein's work itself from which to construct it.

No doubt many who do this lack a suitable irony about what they do to Wittgenstein's texts, but their attitude is not in any important sense a betrayal: less so, in fact, than the attitude of those who think that Wittgenstein did bring to an end philosophical theory on those topics, and themselves sustain an academic activity that consists of reiterating that very thing. Among those who think that there is room for ongoing philosophical theory on those topics, and that Wittgenstein contributed to it, someone owes Wittgenstein an account of why he had ceased to see that this was so. But such an account might be given, and we might come to understand that if Wittgenstein could no longer see the edifice of an

1 Even when we leave aside the point that there is only one work by Nietzsche (The Will
to Power
) that is not a work by Nietzsche, whereas the later works of Wittgenstein are, as
whole books, very variably his.

-299-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Sense of the Past: Essays in the History of Philosophy
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 393

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.