Wittgenstein: Philosophy, Postmodernism, Pedagogy

By Michael Peters; James Marshall | Go to book overview

is" ( Wittgenstein, 1953, #124) or that it is concerned only with "establishing an order in our knowledge of the use of language" (#132). For him "new philosophers" -- "philosophers of the future" -- are those who go beyond good and evil to legislate new values and "to teach man the future of man as his will" ( Nietzsche, 1989, #203, p. 117). "Genuine philosophers," Nietzsche says, "are commanders and legislators: they say, 'thus it shall be!'" (#211, p. 136).


NOTES
1.
Leiber ( 1997, p. 250, n1) provides a sample of papers written in the early 1900s. He quotes one source ( Herbert Stewartin 1909) as commenting that "nothing . . . quite so worthless as 'Thus Spake Zarathrustra' or 'Beyond Good and Evil' has ever attracted so much attention from serious students of the philosophy of morals."
2.
Steven Ascheim ( 1992) The Nietzsche Legacy in Germany, 1890-1990 is perhaps the most comprehensive cultural history of Nietzsche's reception and influence in Germany. His account provides a reading of the complex and "changing relations between Nietzsche and German politics and culture" (p. 15). His interpretation avoids reducing the significance of Nietzsche's work to a single authentic and authoritative meaning. His account centers on the '"complex and interconnected modalities of irrationalism and modernism and Nietzsche's definitive complicity in both" (p. 16), and he argues,

These two dispositions, so central to twentieth-century consciousness, were never simply destructive and reactionary nor emancipatory and progressive. The dangers and positive possibilities could never be neatly severed. Germany's leading irrationalist and modernist, the inveterate Nietzschean Gottfried Benn, captured this in his 1933 remark that the "irrational means close to creation, and capable of creation."

Nietzsche was foundational to this specific consciousness of creation as radical and experimental freedom; in later discourse he became the central symbol of the post-christian, postrationalist, nihilist predicament and its correlated, profoundly destructive, and liberating possibilities. The capacity for symbolically incarnating fundamental issues marked Nietzsche's reception throughout its history. (p. 16)

3.
For recent overviews of Nietzsche's reception see Behler ( 1996), Schrift ( 1995, 1996), and Large ( 1993).
4.
See, for example, Allison ( 1977), De Man ( 1979), and Nehamas ( 1985).
5.
Leiber ( 1997, p. 251) provides the following survey of the new appreciation of Nietzsche's ethics in the English-speaking world:

For Alastair MacIntyre . . . Nietzsche is the first to diagnose the failure of the project of post- Enlightenment moral theory. . . . For Annette Baier, he is one of those "great moral philosophers" who show us an alternative to the dominant traditions in modern moral theory in which we "reflect on the actual phenomenon of morality, see what it is, how it is transmitted, what difference it makes." For Susan Wolf, he represents an "approach to moral philosophy" in which the sphere of the "moral" comes to encompass those personal excellencies that Utilitarian and Kantian moral theories seem to preclude. For other recent writers, he figures as the exemplar of a philosophical approach to morality that these writers either

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