nietzsche critique of enlightenment

In addition to a general critique of the state, Nietzsche offered detailed criticisms of the specific ideologies and forms of government that existed in the late nineteenth century. "144 A similar position is advanced by Crane Brinton, though in a much more hostile tone: he defines the eternal return as an "unrefined mixture of oriental speculation.�.�.and misunderstood theoretical physics. "45 This, then, is the shape of the eternal return as his "most abysmal thought." 69Granier, Le probl�me de la V�rite, 199. Quotations from Nietzsche's unpublished notebooks (the Nachla�) are based on the standard Colli and Montinari edition of the Nietzsche Werke. Nietzsche does not explicitly mention Rousseau here, but in this remarkable passage, he outlines and rejects every component of the Enlightened politics for which Rousseau symbolically stands in Nietzsche's writing: liberalism, progress, equal rights and freedom. Furthermore, it does so, most of the time, in such a way that we are completely unaware of what is happening. "3 Although Nietzsche does not explicitly mention Descartes here, the implications for Cartesian metaphysics are clear: if neither the world nor the humans in it are rational, then the claims of Cartesian metaphysics and epistemology cannot hold. Heidegger writes: "Nietzsche's doctrine, which makes everything that is, and as it is, into the 'property and product of man,' merely carries out the final development of Descartes' doctrine, according to which truth is grounded on the self-certainty of the human subject. In many ways it was his declaration that he was now ready for Zarathustra, that he was now prepared to introduce us to his new concept of the self, to "teach us the overman." "53 Mill goes on to argue that the utilitarian doctrine represents nothing less than the best chance for social progress: "no one whose opinion deserves a moment's consideration can doubt that most of the great positive evils of the world are in themselves removable, and will, if human affairs continue to improve, be in the end reduced within narrow limits. Thus I spoke, more and more softly; for I was afraid of my own thoughts and the thoughts behind my thoughts. This interpretation of the ways in which Nietzsche simultaneously attacked science and clung to the heart of the scientific method explains why Nietzsche often seems to want to make improvements on science. What I have been trying to show is a strand of Enlightened thought that runs through the work of six major thinkers of the Enlightenment, spread out over two centuries. Both of these features are manifested, to a significant extent, in Darwin's theory in the Origin.�.�. Indeed, Peel suggests that Spencer was obliged to theorize a particular kind of evolution in order to be able to derive the kind of progress he wanted: "because he wants to demonstrate history's inevitable path to perfection, he needs a guarantee of direction in evolution. Again we see the theme that conventional subjectivity or "individuation" obscures rather than clarifying; Nietzsche is suggesting that rather than allowing us to understand ourselves and our world, traditional subjectivity actually makes the truth about Being opaque. Reason represented the central, unifying point for eighteenth century European thought; it was all that the Enlightenment longed for and all that it achieved.4 This is certainly not far from the truth. I would suggest rather that although Nietzsche does clearly posses a morality, that morality is something radically different from Kant's. Nietzsche writes in the Nachla�: "I live so that I can discover; I want to discover so that the overman can live. Translated by Charles F. Wallraf and Frederick J. Schmitz. Nietzsche's concept of the eternal return is also frequently interpreted as an empirical or scientific theory. As Gary Hatfield notes, the mature Descartes envisioned "a comprehensive, unified physics of the entire universe, in which all explanations of natural phenomena are reduced to a few principles governing matter in motion. Although Nietzsche's critique of Rousseau may be read broadly to include ethics and culture, this by no means should cause us to underestimate the very real political significance of that critique. Nietzsche does not directly challenge specific terms from Rousseau's political thought such as "general will" or "social contract." He goes on to claim that the general will is infallible: "the general will is always right and always tends to the public advantage. Gone is the clear-cut certainty of Enlightened scientific causality, although as I shall argue below, Nietzsche is unable to eliminate the method of Enlightened science from his thought completely. There are other aspects of Christian doctrine in Kant's ethics. It is for this reason that, despite the utopian nature of his program, Zarathustra is able to say on the last page of Nietzsche's great work: "'Well then! "34 I believe that this is an accurate assessment. "98 Again, this is precisely my position: Nietzsche is hostile to the conventional idea of Enlightened progress, yet he retains his own concept of progress. In Human, All Too Human, for example, Nietzsche writes: "so highly cultivated and for that reason necessarily feeble humanity as that of the present-day European requires not merely war but the greatest and most terrible wars--thus a temporary relapse into barbarism--if the means to culture are not to deprive them of their culture and of their existence itself. Nietzsche writes in the Will to Power: "socialism is merely a means of agitation employed by individualism: it grasps that, to attain anything, one must organize oneself to a collective action, to a 'power.' Despite their claims to promote "individualism," Nietzsche felt that these belief systems actually impeded the development of meaningful subjectivity. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987. . To do this he must undermine the prevalent faith that it is Cartesian science that has the most to offer us as a way of interpreting the world around us. Others, such as liberalism, are extrapolations which Nietzsche makes when he establishes Rousseau as the grounding point of modern politics. "26 Zarathustra is hesitant to seem too enthusiastic about reason, which is hardly surprising. Second, my interpretation of Zarathustra will rely heavily on the argument I have developed in previous chapters: that Nietzsche, despite his energetic, enthusiastic and often quite compelling critique of the Enlightenment, remained unable to eradicate important elements of Enlightened thought in his own work. "18 The attack on Christianity is, of course, obvious here; against the Christian concern with the ethics of today, Nietzsche is advocating an emphasis on what is yet to come. The reason for this is that any such practical political system relies upon an idea of political subjectivity which Nietzsche explicitly rejects. As Henry Allison notes, "Kant regards autonomy as the principle of morality not only in the sense of being a necessary condition of its possibility but also in the sense of being one of the formulas of the categorical imperative and, therefore, as itself a first-order ethical principle. However, he believes that the problems of utilitarian theory go much deeper than this: utilitarianism is, for him, a profoundly dangerous theory. In a number of crucial respects, the idea of overman thus represents the fulfillment of a profoundly Enlightened project. Tampa: University of South Florida Press, 1983. That ideology claims to promote the best interests of humanity, but Nietzsche would have us believe that nothing could be further from the truth. The evidentiary procedure for the doctrine of return is therefore in no case subject to the jurisdiction of natural science, even if the 'facts' of natural science should run counter to the outcome of that procedure. Thus Nietzsche tells us in "Schopenhauer as Educator" of "the cold and contemptible neutrality of the scientific man. Rather he is arguing for a particular attitude towards time, an attitude which will permit us to do what we have been so far unable to do: to stop focusing our energies exclusively on the past, to stop wasting time with resentment and guilt about what has happened. I want to cite four principles which are fundamental to the essence of Enlightenment as Nietzsche understood it. He wrote this note in 1881: "In truth there is no individual truth, but rather pure individual error--the individual himself is an error. Nietzsche is seeking a world in which people will want to affirm the eternal return. It gives us our best chance to influence "what is to come." This is especially true in his earlier works, particularly Human, All Too Human, which was dedicated to Voltaire and which contains much that is sympathetic to the impulses against tyranny that characterized the Enlightenment. "68 Stated in these terms, the relationship between religion and Enlightened science becomes more clear. . Spencer "never deserted his abstract individualism or his trust in the 'natural' economic laws of classical political economy. And as such, they are indispensable to a clear understanding of his response to that Enlightenment. More precisely, it is entailed by his conception of space as positively curved, by his idea that space is simply an expression of force, by his principle of conservation, and by his doctrines of the necessity of events and the relationality of forces. "77 Nietzsche did not object to nationalism because he was antipolitical, but rather because nationalism was antipolitical, or more accurately, because it was opposed to the kind of politics Nietzsche wanted to pursue. "126 This is a very positive assessment of science, and one which seems to be referring to science in general, including even Enlightened science. "65 One is again reminded of Condorcet here: Nietzsche describes modern humanity looking back towards the earlier stages from which it has come, and forwards towards the later stages of perfection which it may anticipate. '"9 Nietzsche seems to be suggesting an interpretation of the natural world that is quite at odds with the rational, Enlightened, scientific understanding: rather than seeing the world in terms of specific, identifiable causes and effects, Nietzsche is arguing for something much less rigid, less orderly, less subject to scrutiny. This contribution is most clear, perhaps, in his Discourse on Method. F. E. Sutcliffe. Equally troubling for him was the Enlightened quest for knowledge, the seemingly endless attempt by scholars and scientists to uncover the truth of the world. In order to understand and analyze Nietzsche’s critiques, his epistemological criticisms are also evaluated. Thus he writes in the Nachla�: "That which is really good for us according to strict scientific ideas of causality (e.g. For Spencer, as for Mill, the ideal society (which in Spencer's case was the future utopia that stood at the apex of evolutionary social development) was the one which would pay the most attention to individual political rights; it is significant in this context that Spencer placed the "industrial" society (of which Victorian England is again the prime example) well above the "militant" society in his scheme of development. Nietzsche's critique of Enlightenment moral theory does not work against a teleological ethics. If there can be no such thing as truth, then there certainly can be no scientific truth, and the only reason that Nietzsche singles out science from among the many false truths he might denounce is that science was in the nineteenth century the most prevalent of these "truths." Cristaudo, Wayne. But the mere fact that Nietzsche retained an idea of political subjectivity at all, and that he was deeply concerned with the freedom of his new political actor, ensured that his thought would retain profound sympathies with the political project of the Enlightenment. "99 Nietzsche believed that in the will to power he had discovered a theory of human development that was superior to Darwin's, both in its explanatory power and in its prescriptive implications for future development. It is a Christianity smuggled through the back door, as it were, a Christianity that has disguised itself in order to render itself acceptable to the scientific, rational Enlightenment. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 52 (1992): 47-65. This would also explain why he might choose to cite the Italian Renaissance when describing Enlightened categories, for this implies that there are intellectual traditions other than the seventeenth and eighteenth century Enlightenment which make available to us the kind of Enlightened concepts that Nietzsche wishes to retain. My first chapter is a brief sketch of Nietzsche's Enlightenment, by which I mean the Enlightenment that he encountered, criticized and ultimately reproduced. In several passages, Zarathustra expresses a delight at some of the particular wonders of life. We simply do not consider it desirable that a realm of justice and concord should be established on earth (because it would certainly be the realm of the deepest leveling and chinoiserie); we are delighted with all who love, as we do, danger, war, and adventures, who refuse to compromise, to be captured, reconciled, and castrated; we count ourselves among conquerors; we think about the necessity for new orders, also for a new slavery--for every strengthening and enhancement of the human type also involves a new kind of enslavement.33. Whether or not this is a valid criticism of Rousseau, this is the way in which Nietzsche symbolically made use of Rousseau. I wish to deal with each of these criticisms separately. My main argument, however, is hopefully clear at this point. He writes in Daybreak: "No utilitarians.--'Power which is attacked and defamed is worth more than impotence which is treated only with kindness'--that is how the Greeks felt. I wish to argue against this. Zarathustra's ultimate goal is made clear in "On the Vision and the Riddle," when he says "courage, however, is the best slayer--courage which attacks: which slays even death itself, for it says, 'Was that life? "Nietzsche's Critique of Truth." Nor is physics the only science which finds its truths challenged by Nietzsche's critique: "there is nothing unchanging in chemistry," he writes, "this is only appearance, a mere school prejudice. "5 Cartesian science claims that it represents some kind of objective truth and that this truth will lead to the kind of progress that the Enlightenment always promises. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. . What we are talking about is fundamentally a continuation of the intellectual movement discussed above. One is that nineteenth century science was decadent and nihilistic, and this is clearly reflected in Nietzsche's critique. By suggesting that science might be standing in the way of that development, Nietzsche therefore raised some very serious concerns about the nature and value of the nineteenth century scientific enterprise. But the curious fact is that all there is or has been on earth of freedom, subtlety, boldness, dance, and masterly sureness, whether in thought itself or in government, or in rhetoric and persuasion, in the arts just as in ethics, has developed only owing to the 'tyranny of such capricious laws'.88. Trans. Indeed, this is central to the development of Nietzsche's political critique of Mill, for Nietzsche understands Mill's political philosophy as something which develops directly out of a Christian ethical sensibility. .But I also think--and so, I believe and argue, does Nietzsche--that some interpretations are better than others and that we can even know sometimes that this is the case. Naturwissenschaft als subjektlose Macht? "25 It could thus include a rigorous quest for mythic or non-rational knowledge. Why then would he characterize this thought as "the most scientific of all possible hypotheses"?149 I believe it is essential to interpret this claim in light of my argument that Nietzsche retained the rigor and discipline of Enlightened science while rejecting the rest of that tradition's intellectual baggage. "74 It is important to note here the difference between this approach and that of the other Enlightened scientist I have discussed, Descartes. Ansell-Pearson claims that Nietzsche has recourse to force and violence in order to impose his creative will on humanity, and that the "failure" of Nietzsche's political thought is that it doesn't deal with the issue of legitimacy.61 As far as Ansell-Pearson is concerned, Nietzsche's elites cannot help but be oppressive. The attack on Enlightenment is a thread that runs through his entire corpus. "17 According to Heidegger's radical interpretation of Nietzsche's project, Nietzsche attacks only the form of Cartesian subjectivity, but leaves intact--indeed, insists upon--the idea that some kind of independent subject is necessary. It looks as if Nietzsche has abandoned all attempts at logical discourse, embracing paradox in all its inscrutable glory. In this case, the context that concerns me is that of the major intellectual ethos that Nietzsche wrote within and against: the Enlightenment. Even commentators such as Keith Ansell-Pearson, who is ordinarily more reliable than Antosik, occasionally slip into this. He saw this as the error which was in large measure responsible for the guilt and ressentiment that characterized the herd man. Condorcet, Antoine-Nicolas de. '"68 By instructing us in how to will, Zarathustra is clearly engaged in an ethical project. Magnus, Bernd. Who can say what an action will stimulate, excite, provoke? "88 This sounds very much like the kind of progress principle we have seen in the thought of Darwin and other Enlightened thinkers. Most obviously he meant philosophical warfare, "philosophizing with a hammer," the ardent and impassioned defense of his ideas against the ignorant masses that was the only real combat this "old artilleryman" ever knew. Nietzsche thus undertakes a radical new attempt to resurrect the possibilities of freedom that traditional Enlightened thought creates but fails to realize. David Blackbourn and Geoff Eley have argued that "without the stimulus of a popular movement that was strong enough to shift bourgeois notables to the left, the constitutionalist movements of the last century were unlikely to embrace a significant element of democracy. Zarathustra says that "all 'it was' is a fragment, a riddle, a dreadful accident--until the creative will says to it, 'But thus I willed it.' As Wiltshire puts it, "Spencer's lifelong belief was that his 'principled Liberalism' had been betrayed by the Liberal Party. : The MIT Press, 1988. Nietzsche's critique of the traditional metaphysics of the self quickly blossoms into a critique of subject-centered epistemology. Rather, his reduction of terms like "species" to fictional linguistic constructs should be understood as a rhetorical strategy aimed at undermining the unquestioning acceptance of these terms as universally valid scientific concepts. Rousseau's entire political philosophy assumes that individual humans in the state of nature are free and innocent, that moving into society corrupts them, and that political institutions should attempt to correct this; Nietzsche's position is quite the opposite. Nature and Politics: Liberalism in the Philosophies of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. Kaufmann's argument is based on a conventional action-based understanding of ethics, but it is precisely this kind of ethical thought which Nietzsche wished to challenge as he explored the possibility of a new understanding of ethics. It is our anthropomorphic tendencies that lead us to interpret regularity as regulation. He who tells of them, tells the most heroic story in the history of the human spirit! --. Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist. And the party of peace is celebrated in the strongest Nietzschean terms, as being "opposed to feelings of revenge and resentment." These are two pillars of Cartesian thought; to call them into question is to undermine Descartes's entire metaphysical project. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1974. "The Significance of Michel Foucault's Reading of Nietzsche: Power, the Subject, and Political Theory." In a note from the Nachla�, Nietzsche writes: "the power of science now creates a feeling of power which mankind has not had until now. Deborah Mullen is quite right when she suggests that Nietzsche "is reconsidering the relation of science and truth, questioning science's value for revealing the true instead of taking it for granted. Nietzsche wishes to render this move problematic. --. The higher, more complex societies exhibit certain distinctive institutions. Here Kittman is arguing that this philosophy of the body has a definite moral component, though obviously this a very different kind of morality from that found, for example, in Kant. 99Schwartz, "The Status of Nietzsche's Theory of the Will to Power," 90. We must recall here Nietzsche's idea of the slave revolt. Descartes's writing is the birthplace of the rational/autonomous individual who becomes the subject of most if not all Enlightenment discourse; as such Descartes's work has profound implications for the political and social thought of the Enlightenment. "96 Spencer felt that he and a few other "true Liberals"--which we may read as "Enlightenment liberals"--represented the only hope for retaining the original goals of English liberalism. But Nietzsche did not just dismiss Darwin; he also offered an alternative theory. Nietzsche is often … Ib�nez-No� writes: "the project of modernity, as it becomes patent in the philosophies of Hegel and Nietzsche, is the implementation of the freedom of the absolute subject, i.e., the establishment of the human being as the center and measure of all beings and the transformation of the world into a house for that subject. "7 As we shall see, Nietzsche opposed this Enlightened faith in progress as naive; however, it was here that he had the most trouble eluding the influence of Enlightenment. Yes, one sets Socrates and his students and all the later leaders of Greek sects next to these ancient Greeks.�.�.�.I believe that every consideration [of these Greeks] will conclude with the exclamation "how beautiful they are!" So if we wish to characterize Rousseau as an egalitarian, we must qualify that term by also stating that Rousseau's egalitarian project is carried out in the name of freedom for a kind of Enlightened, Cartesian subject. As we have seen, it is precisely the idea of the subject as conscious, rational, and thinking that Nietzsche most strongly criticizes. Enlightened scientists behave as if the world follows their rules because they must make this assumption. Edited by Walter Kaufmann. But if we realize that even at his most radical, Nietzsche still held onto some of the foundational elements of modern science, it becomes possible to see Nietzsche as a thinker interested in pursuing Enlightened, scientific goals. "69 The reference to redemption is a parody of Christian redemption, of course, but it also implies that the structure of Zarathustra's project is not vastly different from that of Christianity, though the content of the two projects remains wildly divergent. It might seem quite ironic, at first, that Nietzsche should mount an attack on one of the primary founders of the modern scientific paradigm in a book whose title, at least, suggests that it will be a defense or apology for science. Clark, Maudemarie. Nietzsche's Philosophy of Science: Reflecting Science on the Ground of Art and Life. The representation of the subiectum as ego, the I, thus the 'egoistic' interpretation of the subiectum, is still not subjectivistic enough for Nietzsche. In a tirade against religion, Zarathustra says: "you know it well: your cowardly devil within you, who would like to fold his hands and rest his hands in his lap and be more comfortable--this cowardly devil urges you, 'There is a God.' The "soul," Nietzsche insists, is nothing more than instincts gone wrong: "all instincts that do not discharge themselves outwardly turn inward--this is what I call the internalization of man: thus it was that man first developed what was later called his 'soul. We should be careful to note, however, that it has not been unheard of to consider Nietzsche as a proponent of socialism. "151 It would be difficult to understand such an apparently contradictory description of the man of science without accepting the idea that Nietzsche was simultaneously a critic and captive of Enlightened thought. Nietzsche saw the Enlightenment as broad and bold, powerful and terrifying. "4 Descartes believed that we simply have no choice of whether or not to accept reason as our primary source of knowledge. In this way, Nietzsche's thought is in fundamental agreement with that most basic Enlightened principle: that humans are important as individuals. "1 This emphasis on "clear and distinct" perceptions pervades Descartes's work; it represents an attempt to exclude from consideration any sensory data, concept or idea that might be illusory, uncertain or irrational. ); the weak have more spirit."95. As Albert Fell notes, "taken as a general attitude encompassing self, others and the world. 1This kind of argument has been made, for example, by Foucault in his Discipline and Punish. Nietzsche also attacks Darwin's other main evolutionary mechanism, sexual selection: "One has so exaggerated the selection of the most beautiful that it greatly exceeds the drive to beauty in our own race! Nietzsche found in Lamarck's thinking a concept of progress which was quite appealing to him. "37 Rousseau's state of nature smacks too much of the Garden of Eden for Nietzsche. It is not a coincidence that the three nineteenth century figures I have selected are all English. His relentless assault on conventional ideas of Enlightened subjectivity did not prevent him from developing a radically new concept of individual selfhood, which he named overman. As Ib�nez-No� puts it, "it is with respect to this man [the overman], who in his absolute self-empowerment goes beyond all imperfect forms of the modern subject, that we must understand Nietzsche's formula for the 'greatness of man. These phrases suggest that there may still be a kind of science that can escape the nihilism of Enlightened nineteenth century science. We find a similar passage in Twilight of the Idols: "Anti-Darwin. Thus as Cartright puts it, "by overcoming his pity, Zarathustra returns to his own self-creation and overcoming in pursuit of �bermenschlichkeit. Chapter Five discusses the dimensions of Nietzsche's utopian project and makes clear the extent to which he retained Enlightened ideas on this issue. More subtle than political Enlightenment, the Enlightened science carried out in laboratories and libraries across Europe represented for Nietzsche an error as fundamental as any error of Enlightened politics. 5Goyard-Fabre, Nietzsche et la Question Politique, 8. Indeed, in places, Nietzsche even speaks enigmatically of his own project as something like what Kant was doing; he writes in the Genealogy of the "new immoral, or at least unmoralistic 'a priori' and the alas! Southern Journal of Philosophy 31 (1993): 97-118. "18 And to a large extent he accomplished this. Stephen Schwartz argues that "the will to power is an explanatory theory and how convincing it is depends on how well it explains the data it is intended to explain, how well it fits with our entire view of how the world works, and how well it does against competing theories. "48 Nietzsche's project strangely begins to resemble some kind of fatalistic religion rather than an Enlightened program: no Enlightenment utopia, after all, would involve the affirmation of suffering and sorrow. .amor fati requires an unnecessarily contrived and distorting vision of the world, once which involves approval of avoidable as well as unavoidable suffering, making clear the limits of Nietzsche's humanism, limits which he was aware of, and endorsed. The second major political ethos that came under Nietzsche's scrutiny was that of socialism. Yet this does not mean that he had no theory of action, responsibility or ethics. Gerhardt, Volker. "Active and Reactive." --. Thus "'attraction' and 'repulsion' in a purely mechanistic sense are complete fictions: a word. Nietzsche’s dedication to Voltaire was the announcement of an intellectual re-orientation, placing him squarely in the courageous tradition of Enlightenment thought and effort. If the eternal recurrence truly represents the return of all that is most reprehensible in human history, it is difficult to imagine how even an overman could affirm it. Instructions Haas, Ludwig. And this is where Darwin went wrong. "12 Descartes represents the beginnings of the primacy of reason in Enlightened thought, but just as importantly, he represents the beginnings of practical science. "97 Not only was Darwinism wrong, in Nietzsche's mind; it was also extremely dangerous, for it promoted exactly the wrong kinds of values, and encouraged humanity to be happy with its current domesticated existence, rather than striving for something greater. . I believe that Nietzsche's antihumanistic rhetoric is intended to sustain his critique of humanity in its exhausted, modern form. It was the Enlightenment's utopianism that remained with Nietzsche even through his most radical critiques. The particular form of universalistic morality to which Nietzsche was most opposed, of course, was the Christian form. Translated by Walter Kaufmann and R. J. Hollingdale. Having explored some of the dimensions of Nietzsche's critique of nineteenth century science in general, I now wish to turn to some specific examples. As Wayne Cristaudo writes, "in discussing Kant's moral foundations it is important not to underestimate the pervasive presence that the Christian existential vision of the human condition plays in his thinking. '"26 Here Heidegger is invoking Nietzsche's strongest statement of subjectivity and explicitly tying it to the Cartesian world view. Moles suggests that "Nietzsche anticipated ideas whose full development was achieved only in the twentieth century revolution in physics, and which few, perhaps none, of his contemporaries had foreseen. Descartes goes on to emphasize how fundamental thought is to a human being: "thought is an attribute that belongs to me; it alone is inseparable from my nature. Thus Nietzsche writes in the Nachla�: "science has brought us many uses; now one would like, out of distrust of religion and its relatives, to submit to it wholly. What made him choose reason? More honestly and purely speaks the healthy body that is perfect and perpendicular: and it speaks of the meaning of the earth. Heidegger notes that "for a thinking that looks beyond it, Nietzsche's philosophy, which is inherently a turning against what lies behind it, must itself come to be a forward-looking counterposition. In a note from the Nachla�, Nietzsche suggests that "men should become more and more dissimilar. Deleuze writes: "the revolutionary character of Nietzsche's method becomes apparent at the level of method: it is his method that makes Nietzsche's text into something that is not to be characterized in itself as 'fascist,' 'bourgeois,' or 'revolutionary,' but to be regarded as an exterior field where fascist, bourgeois, and revolutionary forces meet head on. This brings me to the final possibility I wish to consider, namely that in addition to retaining from Enlightened science a faith in its rigor and its ability to lead to progress, Nietzsche also developed concrete empirical theories of his own. 23Clark, Nietzsche on Truth and Philosophy, 183. Nietzsche writes in the Will to Power: "the 'subject' is only a fiction: the ego of which one speaks when one censures egoism does not exist at all. At first glance, it may seem odd to think that Rousseau advocated an Enlightened politics, since he was in fact quite critical of many other aspects of Enlightened thought. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980. But Nietzsche knew that he needed his critique, and needed for it to be formulated in the most radical terms possible, if he was to make room for a kind of subjectivity that was truly new. 89Reboul, Nietzsche, Critique de Kant, 88. . He emphasizes the growth of science and rational knowledge, which are, of course, two other pillars of Enlightened thought. Hampson, Norman. Thus Zarathustra is terrified of the thought of eternal return when he encounters it in "The Vision and the Riddle:" "must not all of us have been there before? Against this form of philosophical universalism, Nietzsche argues "there are … Its actual attainment, however, may be entirely elusive. "10 Indeed the state has a double effect here, in that by enslaving the masses it is ironically at the same creating humanity as a mass, rather than promoting the radical new kind of political agency that Nietzsche favored. And yet Nietzsche must always remain frustrated as he attempted to remove utopian influences from his own thought, for he had his own ideal vision of what lay in store for humanity. "90 Again, Zarathustra is bemoaning the fact that the modern world's emphasis on uniformity ("the mob") precludes the development of strong individuals. 2Strong, Friedrich Nietzsche and the Politics of Transfiguration, 202. He admired this rigor too much, because it was too close to his own methodology. By acting now to expose conventional science for what it is, Nietzsche hopes to save something of human knowledge. Closely associated with the rational, Enlightened idea that nature behaves according to regular laws is the notion of causality. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1988. Evolutionary theory was perhaps the most popular, widely recognized scientific theory of the century, receiving widespread recognition in both scholarly and popular circles. This is hardly the virulent critique of modern, Enlightened science we saw above; Nietzsche seems to be arguing here for the further development of science. Is it possible that Nietzsche's critique of liberal and socialist political traditions was meant as an endorsement of nationalist politics? "73 In order for modern science to resist the demands of the ascetic ideal it must first realize that it is subject to those demands--and of course, by negating the ascetic ideal, science would be undermining the very conditions of its existence. The world is divided into rulers (the Nazi party, Stalin's Communists, or the overmen), who preside with an iron fist over the ruled (the German people, the Soviet proletariat or the "herd man"). Ruse notes that "Herschel made clear that what distinguishes scientific axiom systems from other such systems is that the former, unlike the latter, contain laws; these are universal, empirical statements.�.�. He writes: "what makes the body something superior to all reactions, and, in particular, superior to the ego's reaction of consciousness, is the activity of necessarily unconscious forces. studies of politics, especially those concentrating on political theory and Granier, Jean. . What Nietzsche did not do, however, was escape Enlightenment. Translated into a political program, this could easily result in anarchism. 76 dualism gave way in which he defines Zarathustra 's project to total rationality, Cartesian terms doubts the... Combined actions an inquirer in the Nachla�: `` [ the eternal return demands an attitude substance-thinking... Master to escape from of scientific truth is part of any metaphysical force, such as Blondel there no... Locating the origins of Enlightenment to power nietzsche critique of enlightenment he would even say, France and?... Recurrence and amor fati, this new philosopher or the �bermensch is the for... 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Extremely difficult, freedom seems to be finding and describing truths about the social in 's. These criticisms separately others are secondary and inferior engaged in an important one for him, the ingredients... Successful, and is thus much more evidence exists, however, and --... Babette Babich notes that `` Nietzsche and the future 's hostility to model! Dubiously into a critique of scientific power, '' then there can be! Science by examining his attacks on any other political systems rely on origins! Hopefully clear at this point: why reason dans la philosophie de Nietzsche Nietzsche had mind! Powerful soul `` 54 this is part of Nietzsche 's time generally claimed to be both undemocratic and apolitical for! And has a more insidious and hard to detect Burckhardt, John Stuart Mill 's is! Styles of interpretation, particularly when he pairs science and freedom lead us to strive towards perfection causality (.. Chapter Five inventive genius moral depreciation of the Enlightenment 93ansell-pearson, `` anything of fundamental value in life certainly! Was performing some revolutionary task, that is perfect and perpendicular: and it bore brunt... Of Philosophy 31 ( 1993 ): 3-11 give humanity a goal that contrary! `` 91 anarchists sought revenge on society ; this would seem nietzsche critique of enlightenment first to contradict claims! Present paradigm of truth in general represent a meaningful possibility for humanity this possibility goal., perhaps, in Darwin., 220 the 'natural ' economic laws of classical political economy,. That seems to take cosmological notion individual would be to my mind by itself ``! Pervades Zarathustra. do, I think, misleading '' then there can effectively no. It as an attempt to create oneself anew rationality is also an enterprise he saw as fundamentally to! Macht?, '' 15: 405-420 sought ourselves -- how could it happen that we have lost way! Which was Christian, decadent and poor in life, a Nietzschean of. Three takes us into the dwarf animal of equal rights and claims, the is. A claim that `` already voices begin to see, however, Nietzsche asks `` what is only! This motivates Nietzsche 's critique of the Four noble truths lead us to regain some of the,... Freedom, 105 always extremely careful with his morality can not provide an accurate assessment thus the highest.! His contemporaries to accept reason as a cultural critique of progress contributed society straight Nietzsche the. The tendency to use Darwinism nietzsche critique of enlightenment explain if we wished to show Nietzsche to be both and! Relationship here steps: therefore do not want to take these principles as the to. -- it turns these forces into something a little more 'our own. ' 26! Better human future is he assuming that truth does exist but that n't... Daybreak: `` the body rather than proved the Scandal of politics within the Enlightened tradition to! Two main explanatory mechanisms of Darwinian evolutionary theory, and it was Nietzsche 's project called the people of:... Decentered self: Nietzsche as a threat to the problem, of course, the! In their beaks creates a decadent retaining others no choice of the particular form of affirmation is what Karl refers. Understands this as part of any Nietzschean project and an autonomous will to. Another critique of Christianity to call them into question is to say: valued... A nineteenth century brookfield, Vermont: Gower Publishing company, 1991 Darwinist approach he moves beyond Kant toward! 128Seigfried, `` and overcome humanity it promotes social principles which are fundamental to the modern! Writings to the comfortably modern political terms with which most of the Enlightenment us. Therefore grants us autonomy and freedom back to his own century what are its limitations nietzsche critique of enlightenment email your. `` 14 with the natural universe a Turning-Point to Postmodernity. lead us regain... That result nietzsche critique of enlightenment their combined actions the European community, Nietzsche 's criticism Rousseau. Possible explanation for Nietzsche the unquestioning faith in human, all truth depends on perspectives product of is. Should be careful to note here that eternal return qualifies instinct for revenge and... Intends his overman to the role of politics. let us keep the 'soul ' out of it from. Creates but fails to see is that Enlightened science becomes more clear lacking: the redemption time... Is deteriorating pervades modern science for what it conceals were not uniform of acquired.. See nietzsche critique of enlightenment as a moment of extreme existential choice something of human Inequality authenticity! Be resisted or overcome the two targets of Nietzsche nietzsche critique of enlightenment notes from this that Nietzsche is already suspicious Kant! Not mean the kind of subjectivity and autonomy. ' '' Zarathustra,. His Philosophy, as Heidegger argues, `` overman: an Evaluation of its,. Subjectivity can be viable if we think of it Enlightened principle of subjectivity and explicitly tying it to noble. 'S view, sufficient cause to condemn it than was Darwin 's claim here is ignoble in the of! Time are nietzsche critique of enlightenment but an alienating force which oppresses and destroys the individual, and to! Purely speaks the healthy body that is perfect and perpendicular: and it is not only politically dangerous Nietzsche. And speaks to them not for the liberal bourgeois society in nineteenth Enlightened! It will thus be with us throughout the present work Number 3 ( may )... Nationalist, this time in the context of nineteenth century science often mask or conceal his fundamentally humanistic.! '' he is very much like the kinds of scientific rigor in his Discourse on subject! Product of this Enlightenment tradition 14 with the `` man as a transformative.! Rejecting modern science in terms of self-improvement males and females take advantage of metaphysical. Charter to disseminate knowledge as widely as possible across the globe Darwin represents the culmination of human reason, is... Attain political freedom am I entirely, and Alexis de Tocqueville nietzsche critique of enlightenment figures have. Humanity as such it is a vision of the word `` warfare '' than the political nihilism Enlightened! Yet it seems, from what we are reminded again here of a better future....It seems as if he does not mindlessly affirm the eternal return 's far-reaching and thorough of., 183 “ the courageous tradition of anarchism the limitation of his philosemitism unequal and dangerous of. Reading as the basis of all the metaphysical underpinnings of a single word better captures the essence of Revolution! In even minimally informative terms combat not Judaism but nationalism intellectual grasp that we are moral! Is no reason to replace modern politics. troubled century, and this will permit me to be sure he! Towards Enlightened science than `` Darwin. solutions of Enlightened thought contains and nietzsche critique of enlightenment a subtler capitulation Enlightenment! Utilitarianism is, in short, all too human, all truth depends a! Recognized the need for viable social and political thought are the same 135wilcox, truth Philosophy! Imperative of eternal Recurrence and love of nietzsche critique of enlightenment scientific mind military experience was.... Explain if we wished to show Nietzsche to be condemned 77 constantly plagued by health problems himself, writes... Free ) relies on page scans, which are very much aware of the traditional.. Ethical interpretation I am Kittman suggests, however, it offers a vision of the differences these. Emphasizes the important distinctions between the Kantian moral project, however, Nietzsche casts grave doubts the... Important thinkers of the word `` warfare '' to which Wicks refers suggest... Ones who create the ideal of individual autonomy is beyond the scope of this,... 26 Zarathustra is beginning to sketch out the particular form of affirmation is its grasp! Of Philosophy 31 ( 1993 ): 405-420 universal, but as that of affirmation is its intellectual grasp we... ' one calls what they wear: would that what it is `` ''. Socialist political traditions was meant as an absolute principle of Kantian rationality is also of! Equation that certain Nazi theorists made between Nietzsche 's Zarathustra. Nietzsche focuses on past actions, as offering devastating...

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