Perhaps the most fundamental disagreement concerning Nietzsche's view of metaphysics is that some commentators believe Nietzsche has a positive, systematic metaphysical project, and others deny this. Those who deny it hold that Nietzsche believes metaphysics has a special problem, that is, a distinctively problematic feature that distinguishes metaphysics from other areas of philosophy. In this paper, I investigate important features of Nietzsche's metametaphysics in order to argue that Nietzsche does not, in fact, think metaphysics has a special problem. The result (...) is that, against a long-standing view held in the literature, we should be reading Nietzsche as a metaphysician. (shrink)
Like Kant, the German Idealists, and many neo-Kantian philosophers before him, Nietzsche was persistently concerned with metaphysical questions about the nature of objects. His texts often address questions concerning the existence and non-existence of objects, the relation of objects to human minds, and how different views of objects significantly impact various commitments in many areas of philosophy—not just metaphysics, but also semantics, epistemology, science, logic and mathematics, and even ethics. This book presents a systematic and comprehensive analysis of Nietzsche’s material (...) object metaphysics. Remhof argues that Nietzsche embraces the controversial _constructivist_ view that all concrete objects are socially constructed. Reading Nietzsche as a constructivist, Remhof contends, provides fresh insight into Nietzsche's views on truth, science, naturalism, and nihilism. Remhof investigates how Nietzsche’s view of objects compares with similar views offered by influential American pragmatists, and explores the implications of Nietzsche’s constructivism for debates in contemporary material object metaphysics. _Nietzsche’s Constructivism _is a highly original and timely contribution to the steadily growing literature on Nietzsche’s thought. (shrink)
This book defends the controversial view that Nietzsche is a metaphysician against a tendency to sever Nietzsche from metaphysical philosophy. It shows that for Nietzsche the questions, answers, methods, and subject matters of metaphysics are not only perfectly legitimate, but also crucial for understanding the world and our place within it.
Nietzsche’s presentation of the eternal recurrence in Gay Science 341 is often viewed as a practical thought experiment meant to radically transform us. But exactly why and how we are supposed to be transformed is not clear. I contend that addressing these issues requires taking a close look at the psychological setting of the passage. The eternal recurrence is presented in our “loneliest loneliness.” I argue that facing the eternal recurrence from a state of profound loneliness both motivates self-transformation and (...) contributes toward helping us succeed at that project. (shrink)
This is a review of Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, Adrian Del Caro, trans. The Joyful Science / Idylls from Messina / Unpublished Fragments from the Period of The Joyful Science (Spring 1881– Summer 1882): Volume 6 (The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche). Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2023. x + 772 pp. $28.00, paper, ISBN 978-1-5036-3232-5.
Fictionalism plays a significant role in philosophy today, with defenses spanning mathematics, morality, ordinary objects, truth, modality, and more.1 Fictionalism in the philosophy of science is also gaining attention, due in particular to the revival of Hans Vaihinger’s work from the early twentieth century and to heightened interest in idealization in scientific practice.2 Vaihinger maintains that there is a ubiquity of fictions in science and, among other things, argues that Nietzsche supports the position. Yet, while contemporary commentators have focused on (...) fictionalism in Nietzsche’s moral philosophy, his view of fictions in science has remained largely unexamined.3 In this article, I begin... (shrink)
Nearly every common theory of truth has been attributed to Nietzsche, while some commentators have argued that he simply has no theory of truth. This essay argues that Nietzsche's remarks on truth are best situated within either the coherence or pragmatist theories of truth rather than the correspondence theory. Nietzsche's thoughts on truth conflict with the correspondence framework because he believes that the truth conditions of propositions are constitutively dependent on our actions.
ABSTRACT There is a disagreement over how to understand Nietzsche's view of science. According to what I call the Negative View, Nietzsche thinks science should be reconceived or superseded by another discourse, such as art, because it is nihilistic. By contrast, what I call the Positive View holds that Nietzsche does not think science is nihilistic, so he denies that it should be reinterpreted or overcome. Interestingly, defenders of each position can appeal to Nietzsche's understanding of naturalism to support their (...) interpretation. I argue that Nietzsche embraces a social constructivist conception of causality that renders his naturalism incompatible with the views of naturalism attributed to him by the two dominant readings. (shrink)
Nietzsche appears to adopt a radical Kantian view of objects called constructivism, which holds that the existence of all objects depends essentially on our practices. This essay provides a new reconstruction of Nietzsche's argument for constructivism and responds to five pressing objections to reading Nietzsche as a constructivist that have not been addressed by commentators defending constructivist interpretations of Nietzsche.
Nietzsche was persistently concerned with what an object is and how different views of objects lead to different views of facts, causality, personhood, substance, truth, mathematics and logic, and even nihilism. Yet his treatment of objects is incredibly puzzling. In many passages he assumes that objects such as trees and leaves, tables and chairs, and dogs and cats are just ordinary entities of experience. In other places he reports that objects do not exist. Elsewhere he claims that objects exist, but (...) as mere bundles of forces. And sometimes he proposes that we bring all objects into existence. Nietzsche’s writings, then, appear to support various secondary readings, which are jointly inconsistent. My chief aim is to present and defend the reading that Nietzsche embraces constructivism about objects, the neo-Kantian view that all objects are socially constructed. I first explain this view and argue that all non-constructivist readings are not supported by Nietzsche’s texts. I then present Nietzsche’s object constructivism, reconstruct his argument for the position, and defend it from internal objections. I finish by suggesting that Nietzsche might have embraced such a radical conception of objects because it plays a crucial role in overcoming nihilism. (shrink)
There is a difficulty in understanding Nietzsche’s epistemology. It is generally accepted that he endorses the naturalized epistemological view that knowledge should be closely connected to the sciences. He also holds the evolutionary epistemological position that knowledge has developed exclusively to benefit human survival. Nietzsche’s evolutionary epistemology, however, appears to imply a debunking argument about the truth of our beliefs that seems to undermine his commitment to a naturalized epistemology. This paper argues that Nietzsche’s evolutionary epistemology does not, in fact, (...) undermine his naturalized epistemology. (shrink)
This paper argues there are crucial points in Nietzsche’s texts where he offers a priori epistemic justification for views he believes are correct. My reading contrasts with the dominant view that Nietzsche’s philosophical naturalism is incompatible with a priori justification. My aim is to develop Nietzsche’s brand of a priori justification, show that he employs this account of justification in the texts, and suggest how it might be compatible with naturalism.
This article concerns whether Nietzsche is sympathetic to monism about concrete objects, the heterodox metaphysical view that there is exactly one concrete object. I first dispel prominent reasons for thinking that Nietzsche rejects monism. I then develop the most compelling arguments for monism in Nietzsche’s writings and check for soundness. The arguments seem to be supported by the texts, but they have not been developed in the literature. Despite such arguments, I suggest that Nietzsche is actually not sympathetic to monism (...) about objects—but his reasons for siding against monism are not at all obvious. The result should be a new understanding of some of Nietzsche’s fundamental ontological commitments. (shrink)
The radical skeptic argues that I have no knowledge of things I ordinarily claim to know because I have no evidence for or against the possibility of being systematically fed illusions. Recent years have seen a surge of interest in pragmatic responses to skepticism inspired by C. S. Peirce. This essay challenges one such influential response and presents a better Peircean way to refute the skeptic. The account I develop holds that although I do not know whether the skeptical hypothesis (...) is true, I still know things I ordinarily claim to know. Although it will emerge that this reply appears similar to a classic contextualist response to radical skepticism, it avoids two central problems facing that response. (shrink)
ABSTRACT This essay examines a particular rhetorical strategy Nietzsche uses to supply prima facie epistemic justification: appeals to intuition. I first investigate what Nietzsche thinks intuitions are, given that he never uses the term ‘intuition’ as we do in contemporary philosophy. I then examine how Nietzsche can simultaneously endorse naturalism and intuitive appeals. I finish by looking at why and how Nietzsche uses appeals to intuition to further his philosophical agenda. Answering these questions should provide a new and deeper understanding (...) of how Nietzsche does philosophy. (shrink)
In this paper, I first suggest that Nietzsche and James, two otherwise very different thinkers, both endorse the controversial constructivist view that human representational practices bring all material objects into existence. I then explore their views concerning why and how constructivism can play a vital role in helping us find reality and our lives valuable.
The paper responds to a common charge against constructivism about objects, the view that all objects are essentially socially constructed. The objection is that constructivism is false because there must exist unconstructed objects for there to be constructed objects. I contend that the worry is unsound because whatever exists fully independently of our activities cannot be an object.
This essay examines a particular rhetorical strategy Nietzsche uses to supply prima facie epistemic justification: appeals to intuition. I first investigate what Nietzsche thinks intuitions are, given that he never uses the term ‘intuition’ as we do in contemporary philosophy. I then examine how Nietzsche can simultaneously endorse naturalism and intuitive appeals. I finish by looking at why and how Nietzsche uses appeals to intuition to further his philosophical agenda. Answering these questions should provide a deeper understanding of how Nietzsche (...) does philosophy. (shrink)
Review of Marco Brusotti & Herman Siemens (eds.), Nietzsche’s Engagements with Kant and the Kantian Legacy, Volume I: Nietzsche, Kant, and the Problem of Metaphysics. London: Bloomsbury, 2017. xix + 298 pp. ISBN: 978-1-4742-7477-7. Hardcover, $114.00 (volume); $256.00 (collection).
In the Refutation of Idealism, Kant aims to defeat the Cartesian radical skeptical hypothesis that empirical reality might not exist and we cannot have knowledge of it. Kant intends to demonstrate that conscious experience presupposes direct experience of empirical reality. This paper presents new challenges to the conclusions Kant reaches in the Refutation. Kant’s argument turns on the claim that the past must exist, and my challenges concern the possibility that there is no past.
Nietzsche, Kant, and the Problem of Metaphysics is the first of three volumes meant to address Nietzsche's relation to Kant and Kantian philosophy. This volume addresses how Nietzsche rejects, adopts, and reformulates Kantian epistemology and metaphysics. In what follows I go through the book chapter by chapter, providing a brief summary before a brief commentary.In their helpful introduction, Brusotti and Siemens do an impressive job of elucidating the young Nietzsche's acquaintances with Kant. This section is a "must-read." They then lay (...) the groundwork for Nietzsche's later criticisms of Kant and provide an instructive outline of the volume's contributions. There is one lacuna, however. The title of the volume... (shrink)
I argue that Nietzsche embraces a conception of science that falls between the two dominant interpretations in the literature. Many thinkers in the continental tradition claim that Nietzsche believes science should be either reconceived or overcome altogether by another discourse, such as art, because it is nihilistic. They maintain that Nietzsche regards science as nihilistic because it either presumes that the world is some way it is not or functions on the erroneous assumption that truth rather than art is best (...) for humanity. By contrast, most analytic commentators contend that Nietzsche has a positive rather than nihilistic conception of science, so he does not hold that the discipline should be either reinterpreted or superseded. They claim that for Nietzsche science represents the way the world is and uncovers truths that are important for humankind. I argue for the middle position that Nietzsche has a positive conception of science, scientific constructivism, which he develops in response to nihilistic conceptions of science, particularly scientific realism. Scientific constructivism helps overcome nihilism because it correctly captures the nature of scientific investigation. Affirming constructivism thus allows inquirers to commit to the scientific project without deceiving themselves about the nature of the objects of inquiry. (shrink)
This is a forward for the reissue of Moles's book, Nietzsche's Philosophy of Nature and Cosmology. I first summarize the main arguments in the book and then explain why contemporary readers should be very interested in engaging with this book.