A Study of Nietzsche's on the Uses and Disadvantage of History for Life

Routledge (2016)
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Abstract

Nietzsche stands alone among the great nineteenth-century philosophers of history to have been trained and employed as an historian. As a classical philologist, he was trained not only in Ancient languages, but also in the methods of critical hermeneutics, textual genealogy, and cultural theory. Despite this there has been comparatively little scholarly attention paid to Nietzsche's most pointed reflection on history: _On the Uses and Disadvantage of History for Life _, the second of his _Untimely Meditations_. In this monograph, Anthony K. Jensen demonstrates how ‘timely’ this work of Nietzsche’s is, revealing a text that offers insight into the most important aspects of Nietzsche’s then-contemporary philosophy of history, including teleological theories, Hegelianism, Positivism, romantic historiography, classical philology, and the role of history in education and politics. Using a straightforward and conversational approach, Jensen contextualizes the figures and movements that serve as Nietzsche’s interlocutors, and situates this text within Nietzsche’s larger philosophical project. Through an examination of Nietzsche's views, the author argues for the contemporary philosophical relevance of _On the Uses and Disadvantage of History for Life_, and advances the scholarly discussion of this oft-overlooked but nevertheless essential text.

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