Written and Painted Thoughts: Nietzsche's Aesthetic Turn

Dissertation, University of Hawai'i (1995)

Abstract
This dissertation finds its point of departure in the closing section of Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil, a passage in which the author turns and addresses what he has just written with the question: "Alas, what are you after all, my written and painted thoughts?" This question calls into question the status of the philosopher's text, and thus poses, it might be said, the very problem of postmodern thought--it is directed after all, to "the philosophers of the future." After a consideration of this question, of this coupling of writing and painting, a consideration that leads from the texts of Nietzsche to Derrida and Plato, the dissertation takes up an attempt to think through one possible response to Nietzsche's parting question--that these written and painted thoughts are best taken as art rather than truth. After a consideration of Nietzsche's aestheticism--this turn from truth to art--its antecedents and possible legacy, I then address the controversy surrounding this aestheticist or post-aestheticist turn. Does the turn from truth to art lead out of or only further into nihilism, the crisis of modernity? The dissertation undertakes an extended reflection on Nietzsche's emphasis that art is the countermovement to nihilism. The focus of this reading then turns on Heidegger's Nietzsche, and then also on Derrida's reading of this reading. I take up the suggestion that the development of Nietzsche's thought might be considered as a "more and more radical meditation" on the startling line from Nietzsche's late notebooks: "We have art lest we perish of the truth." For Heidegger this line indicates a "raging discordance between art and truth," a discordance which must be resolved, according to Heidegger, if the countermovement to nihilism is to be successful. The main body of the dissertation then takes up a confrontation with this radically developing meditation through the periods of Nietzsche's career. I examine a number of texts, from The Birth of Tragedy to the last writings in 1888, in order to think through in just what sense Nietzsche may have been developing the thought that we have art lest we perish of the truth
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References found in this work BETA

Nietzsche, Genealogy, History.Michel Foucault - 1978 - In John Richardson & Brian Leiter (eds.), Nietzsche. Oxford University Press. pp. (139-164).
Plato's Pharmacy.Jacques Derrida - 1981 - In Barbara Johnson (ed.), Dissemination. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. pp. 61-171.
The Ends of Man.Jacques Derrida - 1969 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 30 (1):31-57.
Nietzschean Nihilism: A Typology.Alan White - 1987 - International Studies in Philosophy 19 (2):29-44.

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