Lecture one


Authors
Robert Pippin
University of Chicago
Abstract
Bernard Williams once made the interesting point that both Wittgenstein and Nietzsche were trying to say something about what it might mean for philosophy to come to an end, for a culture to be cured of philosophy. He meant the end of philosophical theory, the idea that unaided human reason could contribute to knowledge about substance, being, our conceptual scheme, the highest values, the meaning of history or the way language works. For both Wittgenstein and Nietzsche there is no good or modest version of these attempts, any more than there are good and bad versions of astrology or alchemy. There is no such thing as philosophical theory and there never was[i]. Of course it has always been obvious that the status of the account that somehow makes this observation is immediately problematic, but Williams also noted that the case of Nietzsche was even more difficult than that of Wittgenstein.
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