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Nietzsche on Language, Consciousness, and the Body

Nietzsche on Language, Consciousness, and the Body

Christian J. Emden
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Nietzsche on Language, Consciousness, and the Body
    Book Description:

    Nietzsche and the philosopy of language have been a well trafficked crossroads for a generation, but almost always as a checkpoint for post-modernism and its critics. This work takes a historical approach to Nietzsches work on language, connecting it to his predecessors and contemporaries rather than his successors. Though Nietzsche invited identification with Zarathustra, the solitary wanderer ahead of his time, for most of his career he directly engaged the intellectual currents and scientific debates of his time. _x000B_Emden situates Nietzsches writings on language and rhetoric within their wider historical context. He demonstrates that Nietzsche is not as radical in his thinking as has been often supposed, and that a number of problems with Nietzsche disappear when Nietzsches works are compared to works on the same subjects by writers of the 18th and 19th centuries. Further, the relevance of rhetoric and the history of rhetoric to philosophy and the history of philosophy is reasserted, in consonance with Nietzsches own statements and practices. Important in this regard are the role of fictions, descriptions, and metaphor._x000B__x000B_

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09109-4
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Abbreviations and Translations
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    In this book I discuss Nietzsche’s reflections on language, consciousness, and the body—three themes that are central to his writings throughout his intellectual career and that influenced many of the approaches regarded as the cornerstones of his philosophical enterprise. On the one hand, I seek to trace the historical development of his ideas; on the other, I seek to reconstruct how these ideas, which Nietzsche developed from the early 1870s to the late 1880s, culminated in something I will call his “anthropology of knowledge.” As such, this book is an exercise in intellectual history; it relies not only on...

  6. 1 The Irreducibility of Language: The History of Rhetoric in the Age of Typewriters
    (pp. 9-31)

    Between 1872 and 1874 Nietzsche composed three lecture series on the history and theory of rhetoric, as well as an introductory course on Aristotle’s treatise on rhetoric. At first sight Nietzsche’s interest in this topic is by no means surprising. After all, at this time he was a relatively young professor teaching Greek language and literature at both the University of Basel and the city’s preparatory school, the so-called Pädagogium. Much has been said about Nietzsche’s early years in Basel and especially about his first book, the long-awaited study on the origin of tragedy entitledDie Geburt der Tragödie aus...

  7. 2 The Failures of Empiricism: Language, Science, and the Philosophical Tradition
    (pp. 32-60)

    Rhetorical thought and its far-reaching implications for the complex relationships among language, knowledge, and reason were not exactly at the center of nineteenth-century intellectual developments, either inside or outside philosophy. Most studies of rhetoric from that time more or less repeat the canon of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, established by such eminent scholars as Gerhard Johannes Vossius, Bernard Lamy, César-Chesneau Dumarsais, Johann Christoph Gottsched, and Hugh Blair. The dissemination of these treatises within European intellectual circles demonstrates their influence and importance. Vossius’sRhetorices contractae, sive partitorum oratoriarum(1621), for instance, went through thirty-three editions in various languages by 1700,...

  8. 3 What Is a Trope? The Discourse of Metaphor and the Language of the Body
    (pp. 61-87)

    Nietzsche’s views on metaphor and figurative language continue to be somewhat controversial, especially with regard to their implications for philosophical discourse. From I. A. Richards’sPhilosophy of Rhetoric(1936) and Max Black’sModels and Metaphors(1962) to Donald Davidson’s seminal essay “What Metaphors Mean” (1984) and beyond, the philosophical debate about metaphors and metaphoricity has occasionally referred back to Nietzsche’s arguments, but the implications of his approach have not always been taken seriously—at least partly because his position is far from clear. At first sight, it seems that Nietzsche wanted to give up any real distinction between figurative and...

  9. 4 The Nervous Systems of Modern Consciousness: Metaphor, Physiology, and the Self
    (pp. 88-123)

    Nietzsche often notes that knowledge depends on metaphor, and his numerous reflections on both the philosophical status of metaphor and the relationship between language and knowledge have generated a considerable amount of philosophical criticism. It is now time to consider Nietzsche’s notion of metaphor in more detail, for it is virtually impossible to overlook its enormous importance in his thought, from his early writings, such as the “Darstellung der antiken Rhetorik” and “Ueber Wahrheit und Lüge im aussermoralischen Sinne,” to his later notes on interpretation and the “will to power.” Within these writings, however, metaphor becomes an increasingly difficult concept...

  10. 5 Interpretation and Life: Outlines of an Anthropology of Knowledge
    (pp. 124-162)

    Throughout the early 1880s Nietzsche spent much of his time composingAlso sprach Zarathustra,a difficult and particularly ambiguous piece. Shortly afterward, however, he returned to familiar but unanswered questions that had dominated his work during the late 1870s and are especially manifest in the three parts ofMenschliches, Allzumenschliches.The introductory aphorisms of this work present the idea of a “historical philosophy” and thus the historical perspective that was to influence many of his later elaborate discussions of morality, religion, and art. Whereas many of Nietzsche’s writings from the 1860s to the early 1870s sketch a rather positive image...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 163-202)
  12. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 203-216)
  13. Index
    (pp. 217-223)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 224-226)