Nietzsche, psychology, and first philosophy (review)

Journal of the History of Philosophy 49 (1):127-128 (2011)
The first four chapters of Pippin's elegant volume on Nietzsche were originally delivered as a series of lectures at the Collège de France in 2004. In a certain respect, the context of these lectures defines the parameters of Pippin's reading of Nietzsche: he advocates an interpretation very close to Bernard Williams in emphasizing the psychological aspects and motifs of Nietzsche's thought over and against certain contemporary French appropriations . In over-emphasizing the deconstructive capacity of Nietzsche's text, Pippin holds, these interpretations conclude that Nietzsche's thought provides no philosophical insight—that "Nietzsche's texts always seem to take away with one hand what they appear to have given with the other". In sharp contrast, Pippin claims that Nietzsche's thought is extremely relevant philosophically insofar as it deals with the genealogy of human desires and actions. Put differently, Nietzsche's philosophical teaching is first and foremost a psychology. For this reason, Pippin's book amounts to a sustained attempt to "present a comprehensive interpretation of what Nietzsche means by 'psychology,' what the relationship is … between psychology and traditional
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