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Nietzsche's Critique of Truth

Wiley Blackwell
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  • Philosophy


Gemes, Ken (1992) Nietzsche’s Critique of Truth. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 52 (1), pp. 47-65. ISSN 0031-8205. Downloaded from: Usage Guidelines Please refer to usage guidelines at or alternatively contact [email protected] Nietzsche's Critique of Truth Ken Gemes Originally published in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 52, issue 1, pp.47-65, March 1992. Reprinted in Oxford Readings in Philosophy: Nietzsche, Eds. John Richardson and Brian Leiter, Oxford University Press 2001 1 1. Introduction1 In several places Nietzsche calls into question the value of truth: The falseness of a judgment is for us not necessarily an objection to a judgment. [BGE 4] At some places he disdains the desire for truth: No, this bad taste, this will to truth, to "truth at any price," this youthful madness in the love of truth - have lost their charm for us. [GS Preface to the Second Edition 4] At other places Nietzsche questions the very existence of truth2 There exists neither "spirit", nor reason, nor thinking, nor consciousness, nor soul, nor will, nor truth. [WTP 480] Indeed he even claims that he does not use truth and reason to convince but rather seeks to "seduce" his readers through extreme rhetoric: A powerful seduction fights on our behalf, the most powerful that there has ever been - the seduction of truth - "Truth"? Who has forced this word on me? But I repudiate it; but I disdain this proud word: no, we do not need even this: we shall conquer and come to power even without truth. The spell that fights on our behalf, the eye of Venus that charms and blinds even our opponents, is the magic of the extreme, the seduction that everything extreme exercises: we immoralists - we are the most extreme. [WTP 749] To deny the existence of truth is prima facie pa

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