Elamin, Ali (2009-05). Nietzsche on truth in the contexts of nihilism and health. Master's Thesis.
In this project, I develop Nietzsche's account of truth based on the two perspectives of nihilism and health and conclude that his varied analyses and comments from the early and late periods of his writing are compatible. Nietzsche's discussions of truth are divided into two parts. First, the discussion of the concept of truth. Second, he analyzes modern culture that considers the highest type the one that seeks truth. His discussion of the concept of truth involves a critique of the thing-in-itself and Correspondence Theory. The subtle point to get is that Nietzsche never denies the existence of a real world in which we live. However, his critique is of human's ability to arrive at this truth. I argue that his attack on the concept of the thing-in-itself in the late notebooks is aimed at showing the metaphysical incoherence of the concepts of thinghood and self-identity and not on the concept of an unknown grounding existence. As for the second discussion, I argue that Nietzsche condemns truth-seeking insofar as it is held as the highest ideal in a culture. When this occurs, the will to truth in cultures and individuals becomes tyrannical and stems the growth of the person as a complete self, with varied drives and impulses. Finally, I conclude that Nietzsche hopes to overcome nihilism by breaking the tyranny that has taken over society which is governed by a will to nothingness, which depreciates the value of life. He understands the immensity of the task of overcoming this will, and understands that he can only be part of a larger context of combating nihilism. Accordingly, he sees his role as reintroducing man to his body and his physiology and to bring back the experimentation and playful seriousness in the art of living life as opposed to the life-sacrificing and life-denying type that thinks of the pursuit of truth as a relinquishment of life.
George, Theodore Professor and Texas A&M Presidential Impact fellow, Head of the Department of Philosophy