PHIL 115 Lecture Notes - Perspectivism, Friedrich Nietzsche, Political Philosophy
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Week 9 12/03/2013 07:28:00
Nietzsche has no theory of it, however, we have to regard thought as a
personal expression: the will to power.
Philosophy is a discipline, ideas a personal psychology; an expression of
Ideas stand for their author in the same way art does for artists.
To Descartes, I can be any rational being but not the physical
Philosophy is a surreal thing to him.
Nietzsche argues that empiricists and pragmatists have the same view to
“Philosophy is the personal confession of its author.”
No such thing as pure objectivity. Even math isn‟t completely impersonal.
If it is true that philosophy is personal, all knowledge is interpretation.
Nothing is true in itself. All truth is contingent upon the speaker,
the interests of the speaker.
Moral knowledge serves us just as much as science.
Knowledge is uncertain, contingent, and reliant on the perspective of the
This is Nietzsche‟s epistemological hypothesis.
We can only know the particular aspect, which a particular point of
Whole truths are not possible.
E.g.: looking at a watch, we can claim to know certain things from
our perspective but nothing else. Points of view change our
conception of something completely. This means knowledge can
never be whole.
Perspective at the same time makes knowledge possible but also limits it.
Truth, like a woman must be observed again and again, from as
many perspectives as possible. There is no such thing as god-like
Why do we still continue to write about Rome if we know it all?
Nietzsche: we don‟t. We can never know everything about
Our point of view of a historian will be different than any other
historian in the past. Knowledge is always changing according to
point of ivew.
Everyone brings their own baggage when reading something.
To best know something, you must observe it from as many
perspectives as possible.
E.g.: the more light we bear on an object, the easier we can see it.
The more POV‟s come to bear on something, the more aspects we
^This is Nietzsche‟s theory of knowledge.
Different disciplines (bio and psych) share a perspective of something just
like two different lights do to an item.
Nietzsche on Religion
Not only rejected all of it, but did so passionately.
Human existence needs a justification. This is an urgent matter.
Too often we turn to religion to answer it. It is counterintuitive
because it blocks us from answering the question earnestly.
“For as soon as I believe in a god, all the good things in life,
become a gift from God. Leaving the believer as the originator of
sin – immoral action and nothing else.
Religious worldviews debase human existence.
Churches are constructed to inspire your obedience to God. Imagine
Nietzsche argues if we took all the time and effort we place in God and
the afterlife and placed it in reality and live in the present. Our lives and
human progress would be much more developed.
We are obsessed with the future. Nietzsche believes we should live in the
If we really are eternal, why should I care about this life?
We need to invest our lives with meaning in the now. Religious
belief is the biggest obstacle to this.
March 15, 2013
Nietzsche is a moralist, first and foremost.
He delves into everything
o Metaphysics is a dead end
o Epistemology is also a dead end; it is not necessary to the function
of human life
Morality: he has no ethical theory. He is a proponent of master morality,
as opposed to „slave morality.‟
You would expect him to provide a rationale for this, but instead he
gives an ambiguous argument.
Moral values emerge from the self from necessity. An apple tree
bears fruit because it must.
Moral values are the personal confession of its author, just like a
work of art.
Master morality: if the more creative side of your personality is
dominant, you‟ll be an advocate of this. The master moralist is his
target audience member.
There is no foundation for master morality, nor does any other
morality (whether consciously or not) have it.
Why should I advocate master morality? There is no direct reason
Is he presenting us with moral relativism as opposed to
This dichotomy is false, like every other one. Nobody should think
in dichotomies and nobody should have the need to choose
between the two.
He is not a political thinker on the surface. He is neither conservative or
liberal, authoritarian or libertarian, cosmopolitan or nationalist. He
criticizes all philosophies and defends none of them.
He is not a proponent of anything, and you cannot identify anything with
In fact, he posited the question about why German nationalism is almost
inseparable from anti-Semitism.
He has no political philosophy, which makes it hard to make sense of his
scattered remarks of political philosophies.
Nietzsche has no theory of it, however, we have to regard thought as a personal expression: the will to power. Philosophy is a discipline, ideas a personal psychology; an expression of the person. Ideas stand for their author in the same way art does for artists. To descartes, i can be any rational being but not the physical person. Philosophy is a surreal thing to him. Nietzsche argues that empiricists and pragmatists have the same view to some extent. Philosophy is the personal confession of its author. If it is true that philosophy is personal, all knowledge is interpretation. All truth is contingent upon the speaker, the interests of the speaker. Moral knowledge serves us just as much as science. Knowledge is uncertain, contingent, and reliant on the perspective of the person. We can only know the particular aspect, which a particular point of view allows.