Nz book update

The Nz book is coming along. I have a draft of the “Overture,” which is an overview of his life and philosophy; a draft of “Act I,” which is about the misty romantic metaphysics lying being Birth of Tragedy and Untimely Meditations — roughly, the idea is that Greek drama and Wagnerian opera both have the power to disclose the tragedy of human existence and offer us a reconciliation to it; and I’m partway through a draft of “Act II,” which covers Nz’s break with the misty metaphysics and Wagner and his turn toward naturalism in Human, all too Human.

I spend some time trying to explain what naturalism is. Here’s my idea: take the Kantian distinction between appearances (everything causally related in space and time) and things in themselves (ultimate reality, outside of space and time), do away with the things in themselves, and you’ve got naturalism. That seems too easy, though, so I wonder what I am missing. Maybe something about method — how the empirical sciences determine what counts as real? But that doesn’t sound right, since the empirical sciences undergo massive change, and I don’t want to end up saying electrons didn’t exist in 1500!

About Huenemann

Curious about the ways humans use their minds and hearts to distract themselves from the meaninglessness of life.
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4 Responses to Nz book update

  1. Mike says:

    Let me borrow a quote from my friend Pierre Hadot —

    Indeed, to be a philosopher requires a rupture with what the skeptics called bios, that is, daily life, when they criticized other philosophers for not observing the ordinary conduct of life, the usual manner of seeing and acting, which for the Skeptics consisted in respecting customs and laws, practicing a craft or plying a trade, satisfying bodily needs, and having the faith in appearances indispensable to action. It is true that even while the Skeptics chose to conform to the common conduct of life, they remained philosophers, since they practiced an exercise demanding something rather strange, the suspension of judgment, and aiming at a goal, uninterrupted tranquility and serenity of the soul, that the common conduct of life hardly knew.

    So perhaps the methodological point is the same as that of the Skeptics, that which is indispensable to action.

    Nietzsche’s “natural” is opposed to the common societal conduct of life though, isn’t it? I think they can still share appearances.


  2. Huenemann says:

    This is a really interesting comment. It makes me wonder whether I’ve characterized Nz correctly. I have been reading him as a naturalist — so he would believe that the world is pretty much as it is described by science. (This would make him buddies with Lange, I think, who wrote a book called The History of Materialism in the mid-19th century.) But it could be that he is more Hume-like, using observations about human nature to tell him both about humans and about the stuff humans (including scientists) are likely to say about the world. The debate, basically, is whether to take physics or psychology as fundamental. Now that I’ve said that, it makes me lean more toward thinking of Nz as Humean (all too Humean — ha, ha).


  3. Mike says:

    That corny joke “Humean (all too Humean)” made me laugh out loud!

    I’m really interested in Act 1. That sort of topic is I think the best method to introduce the unitiated (and especially Christians) to Nietzsche. If you start elsewhere their sensibilites are immediately offended. Of course presenting Nietzsche like that might be exactly the opposite of what he wanted. But he’s dead now, we can do what we want with him!

    Just trying to add my small part to that nightmare he called the eternal recurrence. Actually, now that he’s dead we might consider launching his grave into orbit. He’d like nothing better than to shine like the stars in the heavens.


  4. Huenemann says:

    Launching Nz’s corpse into orbit — great idea! In fact, maybe that’s what’s in the monolith in 2001 — it keeps showing up with Strauss’s “Thus Spake Zarathustra” playing in the background.

    Thanks for restoring some irreverence to the discussion.


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