Perspectivism and Truth in Nietzsche’s Philosophy: A Critical Look at the Apparent Contradiction

Perspectivism and Truth in Nietzsche’s Philosophy: A Critical Look at the Apparent Contradiction

Length: 2457 words (7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Perspectivism and Truth in Nietzsche’s Philosophy: A Critical Look at the Apparent Contradiction

“There are no truths,” states one. “Well, if so, then is your statement true?” asks another. This statement and following question go a long way in demonstrating the crucial problem that any investigator of Nietzsche’s conceptions of perspectivism and truth encounters. How can one who believes that one’s conception of truth depends on the perspective from which one writes (as Nietzsche seems to believe) also posit anything resembling a universal truth (as Nietzsche seems to present the will to power, eternal recurrence, and the Übermensch)? Given this idea that there is no truth outside of a perspective, a transcendent truth, how can a philosopher make any claims at all which are valid outside his personal perspective? This is the question that Maudemarie Clark declares Nietzsche commentators from Heidegger and Kaufmann to Derrida and even herself have been trying to answer. The sheer amount of material that has been written and continues to be written on this conundrum demonstrates that this question will not be satisfactorily resolved here, but I will try to show that a resolution can be found. And this resolution need not sacrifice Nietzsche’s idea of perspectivism for finding some “truth” in his philosophy, or vice versa. One, however, ought to look at Nietzsche’s philosophical “truths” not in a metaphysical manner but as, when taken collectively, the best way to live one’s life in the absence of an absolute truth.

By looking at one of Nietzsche’s specific postulations of perspectivism, we can get a better idea of precisely how this term applies to his philosophy and how it relates to the “tru...


... middle of paper ...


...’s lack of a direct response to this apparent contradiction ensures that this matter will continue to be hotly debated well into the future. For this seemingly simple contradiction of positing truths when one has denied all absolute truths, Nietzsche gives a very complex and personal answer.

Bibliography

PRIMARY TEXTS

Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, trans. R. J. Hollingdale (London: Penguin Books, 1990).

Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, trans. Walter Kaufmann and R. J. Hollingdale, ed. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Random House, 1967).

SECONDARY TEXTS

Clark, Maudemarie, Nietzsche on Truth and Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990).

Solomon, Robert C., ‘Nietzsche ad hominem: Perspectivism, personality, and ressentiment,' in The Cambridge Companion to Nietzsche (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 180-222.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Nietzsche’s Perspectivism and Philosophical Skepticism: A Comparison Essay

- Since the idea of truth came to being by the previous thought of ancient times, many philosophers have developed their ideas on this notion. They ask themselves questions such as: “What is truth. Does a universal truth exist. Are their countless truths. Is it possible to know?” This is a major debate amongst philosophers and it really separates them within their belief systems. Many names have been given to the different thoughts: Relativism, Skepticism, Dogmatism, and Perspectivism. These thoughts are just a few major classifications from some of the great thinkers on truth....   [tags: what is truth, perspectivism, relativism]

Powerful Essays
3406 words (9.7 pages)

A View on Perspectivism Essay

- A View on Perspectivism Perspectivism is the doctrine that most or all large philosophical questions have many proposed answers, and many views on how to judge between those proposed answers, and that intelligent people of good will are likely to continue to have differing perspectives on these large questions of philosophy indefinitely. There are both historical and theoretical reasons for embracing this view. Historically, it is manifest that though philosophers have often attained views which are highly satisfying to themselves personally, few perspectives have won a con sensus even in their own times, and none have won a consensus over time....   [tags: Philosophy Philosophical Essays]

Free Essays
3387 words (9.7 pages)

Nietzsche 's Philosophy And Philosophy Essay example

- so why, in philosophies like those from Kant, does reason have to subvert emotions or desires to a position of inferiority, rather than work with emotions. Emotions, passions, senses, or whatever one may choose to call them, are fundamentally a part of being, and as such should not be seen as deceptions of reality – emotions are part of reality. A more emotional, or intuitive, approach to philosophy is needed discontinue the approach to reason as a great panacea capable of transcendent understanding....   [tags: Philosophy, Religion, Psychology, Reason]

Powerful Essays
1766 words (5 pages)

The Philosophy of Nietzsche Essay

- As Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher once wrote in his book Thus Spoke Zarathustra, “When Zarathustra was alone, however he said to his heart: ‘could it be possible. This old saint in the forest has not yet heard of it, that God is dead.” (479). And again in his parable of the mad man: “The insane man jumped into their midst and transfixed them with his glances. " Where is God gone. " he called out. " I mean to tell you. We have killed him, -- you and I. We are all his murderers. But how have we done it....   [tags: Freidrich Nietzsche, Germna Philosopher, Analysis]

Powerful Essays
1276 words (3.6 pages)

Nietzsche And Immanuel Kant 's Philosophy Of Moral Law Essay

- Between philosophers Nietzsche and Immanuel Kant, we can conclude that Nietzsche has different views in which a man lives his life. According to Kant, we as human beings must act and live according the moral law. However, in regards to Nietzsche, he rejects the notion that there is a moral code for everyone and insists that each individual is able to see that there is no objective morality. Nietzsche’s greatest criticism of Kant’s philosophy of moral law, stems from his emphasis and use of the idea of the “overman”, which forms his opinion on liberal democracy (Hamilton-Bleakley)....   [tags: Immanuel Kant, Morality, Friedrich Nietzsche]

Powerful Essays
1212 words (3.5 pages)

Essay Nietzsche's Utile Philosophy of History

- Nietzsche's Utile Philosophy of History History, contends Nietzsche, is not something to be wholly embraced for its own sake, but something which when used in moderation to further the activity of man motivates his life towards justice. Always, though, history must serve life and never the converse. To lead a healthy and happy life, man must be capable not only of historical though but also of unhistorical thought; Nietzsche likens the superhistorical being who never forgets to one who cannot sleep....   [tags: Philosophy History Essays]

Powerful Essays
534 words (1.5 pages)

Nietzsche's Revaluation of All Values Essay

- In the nineteenth century, popular philosophy - particularly the Hegelian dialectic - professed that mankind was developing in an upward direction, becoming more angelic as it were. Man's moral laws were more advanced, as support for democracy and equal rights were beginning to become popular. However, Friedrich Nietzsche believed that mankind was entering a downward spiral towards complete decadence. Modern man, with its 'advanced' morality, was, in truth, decaying on the inside. Claims of morality merely masked modern man's decay: he is veiled behind moral formulas and concepts of decency?....   [tags: Philosophy Nietzsche Essays Papers]

Powerful Essays
2292 words (6.5 pages)

Analysis of Dostoevsky and Nietzsche's Literature Essay

- Analysis of Dostoevsky and Nietzsche's Literature      Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “Dostoevsky, the only one who has taught me anything about psychology.” The two writers share many similarities and differences. Dostoevsky clearly had an effect on the thinking of Nietzsche. The two would be considered both philosophers and psychologists. Both writers became prominent in the late 19th century in Germany and Russia respectively. Dostoevsky was noted for his Russian literary classics and would be responsible for a flowering of late 19th century Russian literary culture....   [tags: Psychology Friedrich Nietzsche Philosophy Essays]

Powerful Essays
5388 words (15.4 pages)

Nietzsche : God Is Dead Essay

- The Question: State your understanding of the philosophy of F. Nietzsche. What does he mean by saying "God is Dead".      Nietzsche's philosophy is that of a radical view as it calls for the complete reevaluation of morals and blatantly attacks the Judeo-Christian tradition in modern society. He believed one should dare to become who they are. In order to ascertain one's full potential as a human being, the ethic system of which by society runs, must be changed as it only hampers one's will to power....   [tags: Philosophy Atheist Atheism Friedrich Nietzsche]

Powerful Essays
752 words (2.1 pages)

Essay about Nietzsche: On the Genealogy of Morals

- Nietzsche: On the Genealogy of Morals Nietzsche was a revolutionary author and philosopher who has had a tremendous impact on German culture up through the twentieth century and even today. Nietzsche's views were very unlike the popular and conventional beliefs and practices of his time and nearly all of his published works were, and still are, rather controversial, especially in On the Genealogy of Morals. His philosophies are more than just controversial and unconventional viewpoints, however; they are absolutely extreme and dangerous if taken out of context or misinterpreted....   [tags: Philosophy Morals Ethics Nietzsche Essays Papers]

Powerful Essays
602 words (1.7 pages)