The Monist 64 (4):467-480 (1981)

In the second volume of his Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger argues that Nietzsche’s “revaluation of all values” tries to win results from the history of nihilism and that it therefore remains nihilistic—in the sense of passive, reactive, or incomplete nihilism. The very will to a new valuation, the compulsion to rescue beings as a whole and establish positive results for their history, is a metaphysical—hence nihilistic—will: it betrays a kind of thinking that Nietzsche ought to have overcome, namely, Wertdenken, which is too busy calculating results to confront the nihil, das Nichts. Heidegger himself eschews valuative-calculative thinking. In his “Letter on Humanism” he derides the elevation of beings to “values” as the most noxious of nihilisms. But does Heidegger’s thought too hope to establish results in and for the history of philosophy, precisely in its constant appeals to primordial beginnings and irrevocable ends? Is its circling about “origins” and “outcomes” in service to some transcendent, hence forgetful of the ontological difference? Is its yearning for results yet another instance of metaphysical nostalgia? And if the histories of metaphysics and nihilism do coalesce, as both Nietzsche and Heidegger claim, would not Heidegger’s thought be nihilistic?
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest  Philosophy of Mind  Philosophy of Science
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ISBN(s) 0026-9662
DOI 10.5840/monist198164427
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