Nietzsche on Epistemology and Metaphysics

Nietzsche on Epistemology and Metaphysics: The World in View

Tsarina Doyle
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    Nietzsche on Epistemology and Metaphysics
    Book Description:

    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.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-3186-5
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-20)

    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.¹ 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...

  5. Part I: Epistemology
    • Chapter 1 Nietzsche’s Appropriation of Kant
      (pp. 23-52)

      Throughout his writings Nietzsche highlights the dangers of oppositional thinking, which, in his view, has characterised the history of metaphysical thought. In Human, All Too Human he writes, ‘Almost all the problems of philosophy once again pose the same form of question as they did two thousand years ago: how can something originate in its opposite.’¹ One such opposition that exercises Nietzsche is that between self and world. The difficulty centres on what Nietzsche sees as the ‘opposition’ between the world as it is known ‘by us’ and the world considered in itself and apart from human interpretations. Nietzsche contends...

    • Chapter 2 Nietzsche’s Perspectival Theory of Knowledge
      (pp. 53-80)

      In Chapter 1 we saw that, according to Nietzsche, Kant’s constitutive account of knowledge results in the sceptical idealism that Kant wants to avoid. Nietzsche thinks that this difficulty can be resolved by rejecting Kant’s constitutive epistemology in favour of a regulative and interest-directed conception of knowledge. The resulting Nietzschean view is that knowledge is anthropocentric but realist; empirical reality, he claims, is mind-independent but knowable.

      In this chapter I investigate Nietzsche’s argument supporting the view that we can have objective knowledge of mind-independent reality by examining his perspectivism and interpreting it as a rejection of metaphysical realism, the general...

    • Chapter 3 Nietzsche’s Emerging Internal Realism
      (pp. 81-110)

      This chapter examines Nietzsche’s early writings, arguing that his later views regarding the perspectival yet objective character of human knowledge are present in an embryonic form in his early thought.¹ Nietzsche struggles to articulate, through a critical engagement with Kant and Schopenhauer, a possible reconciliation of self and world, central to which is his rejection of both Kant’s constitutive conception of knowledge and his transformation of the idea of the thing-in-itself into a sphere of reality which, although irreducible to human minds, is nonetheless knowable by us in principle. What is notable about Nietzsche’s early writings is that although he...

  6. Part II: Metaphysics
    • Chapter 4 Justifying the Will to Power
      (pp. 113-140)

      So far we have seen that Nietzsche’s perspectivism dispenses with Kant’s oscillation between realism, entailing a God’s Eye View, and idealism, where reality is thought to be reducible to the forms of our knowledge. The following three chapters show how Nietzsche’s will to power thesis plays an important role in overcoming this oscillation. The present chapter does this by examining the arguments informing Nietzsche’s proposal of the will to power, demonstrating that it operates as a metaphysics that not only derives from his perspectival account of knowledge but, as a result of its doing so, challenges traditional substantialist accounts of...

    • Chapter 5 The Kantian Background to Nietzsche’s Metaphysics
      (pp. 141-168)

      This chapter investigates how Kant influences Nietzsche’s metaphysics. By highlighting the historical context informing Nietzsche’s concern with the metaphysical status of force in his will to power thesis it underscores the particular Kantian lens through which Nietzsche grapples with the metaphysical problem of the reality of causal powers.

      In his articulation of the will to power thesis in Beyond Good and Evil Nietzsche describes the ultimate constituents of reality in causal terms, arguing that ‘effective’ causes have an intrinsic nature, capturing the ‘world as it is seen from the inside’.¹ Whilst Nietzsche’s claim in this passage that ‘I do not...

    • Chapter 6 Relationality and Intrinsicality in Nietzsche’s Metaphysics
      (pp. 169-200)

      In our last chapter we saw that Nietzsche’s metaphysics can be understood as a response to deficiencies in the Kantian system. According to Nietzsche, Kant fails to capture the nature of real causal efficacy, and central to Nietzsche’s response to Kant is his proposal of the will to power thesis, which holds that empirical powers are causally efficacious because they are metaphysically real. Controversially proposing a metaphysics that understands the ultimate constituents of empirical reality as both relational and intrinsic, the will to power thesis represents the final step in Nietzsche’s overcoming the metaphysics of opposites with which we began...

  7. Index
    (pp. 201-208)