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Friedrich Nietzsche
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message 1: by Clark (last edited Jan 14, 2019 11:11AM) (new)

Clark Wilson | 154 comments Mod
This topic is for posts about Nietzsche unfettered by the "shared inquiry" method that governs the other topic. Knock yourselves out.

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message 2: by Clark (new)

Clark Wilson | 154 comments Mod
Well, after I took a fairly close look at the preface and read straight through the rest of the book, I have an observation and a question.

Observation: In general in this book Nietzsche doesn't prove things, he asserts things. If you follow his arguments from conclusions or assertions backwards or downwards to see the supporting premises, I don't think you find much. He theatrically makes huge claims about humanity and about morality, but in general they are just assertions or are completely taken for granted in his insults or praises or whatever he's about at that point. There are a few bits of philological facts claimed as grounds for his claims, but they are few and are quite thin.

My claim about the overall architecture of his argument can be tested by reading the book or chunks of it together, using the methods of HTRAB, especially chapter 9, "Determining an Author's Message."

I do want to address one possible counter-statement here: Someone might reasonably say that Nietzsche tells us in this book that you have to have read his previous books well in order to understand this one. But his claim isn't like that of, say, a physics book on mechanics saying you need to have studied analytic geometry to get the formulas. Nietzsche stresses that he expresses himself apothegmatically and that at least the current book is "a polemic." Near the end of his preface he says, "Take, for instance, my Zarathustra; I allow no one to pass muster as knowing that book, unless every single word therein has at some time wrought in him a profound wound, and at some time exercised on him a profound enchantment: then and not till then can he enjoy the privilege of participating reverently in the halcyon element, from which that work is born, in its sunny brilliance, its distance, its spaciousness, its certainty."

This is not an appeal to certain bodies of fact or of mathematical methods or similar; it is an appeal to some sort of experience, some sort of gestalt non-verbal (or only partially verbal) understanding. So in a way Nietzsche himself makes my point that he doesn't provide arguments with chains of reasoning based on stated principles or specified facts.

That's the end of the observation; here is my question. Presuming for the minute that what I've said above is accurate about Nietzsche's polemic and apothegmatic enterprise, how would Nietzsche say we can validly respond? According to Nietzsche as he is available to us in this book, must a valid response to him be polemic and apothegmatic? If we respond with logic and history and other bodies of fact, would Nietzche dismiss it all, saying such a response is like shooting cannonballs at clouds?


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