Abstract

Abstract:

In Book I of Human, All Too Human, Nietzsche maintains that optimism and pessimism are both outdated because no judgment concerning the value of life gains support from the naturalistic philosophy that he now embraces. I show that Nietzsche's repudiation of optimism and pessimism rests on a distinction between theoretical and evaluative judgments that originates in his reading of Eugen Dühring's The Value of Life. While Nietzsche now maintains that theoretical judgments do not justify any position on the value of life, he still holds that a person who sees life accurately will exhibit the practical world-denial characteristic of the pessimist because such a person will apprehend what Nietzsche calls the "goallessness" of humanity. I formulate three readings of this notion and argue that Nietzsche is developing the Schopenhauerian claim that all goals of action are, in truth, given to us by nature. I conclude by showing that while Nietzsche's understanding of pessimism remains Schopenhauerian in this book he transforms the problem of pessimism by locating it within the temperament of human beings.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4594
Print ISSN
0968-8005
Pages
pp. 272-291
Launched on MUSE
2019-11-15
Open Access
No
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