Supposing truth is a woman...what then?

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Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 01:14 pm
I'd like to kick ball of "truth" around a bit here, if I may. In typical Nietzsche fashion, I think he began the cycle of what I consider his most important two books (BG&E and GM) with his own answer to the final question posed: does "truth" exist and if so what is it's value.

So what if truth is a woman? Does that mean that if you get truth drunk, you can have your way with her? What is the connection between N's idea of truth and his idea of "free will", or the will to power, more generally?

My own opinion is that N was no denyer of "reality", and therefore of the possibility of reducing everything to an equation in a purely deterministic universe. I think his conception of "free will" (as a breaking of the deterministic chain) is tied tightly to his belief in the nonexistence of absolute truth and his attack on the ascetic principle, quite specifically it's scientific form.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 05:20 pm
@Grimlock,
In his Preface, Nietzsche attacks certain kinds of "serious" philosophizing of a dogmatic nature that fumbles its attempt to woo truth because it is clumsy. These philosophers, ready to accept superstitious hand-me-down concepts as grounds for conclusions are, he maintains, mislead by "...some play on words perhaps, a seduction by grammar, or an audacious generalization of very narrow, very personal, very human, all too human facts." Against this tendency toward "sleepfullness" Nietzsche will oppose a kind of thinking that "is wakefullness itself" by standing truth on her head and supporting a perspectivalist philosophy.
One notes that the next Part is called "On the Prejudices of Philosophers" (e.g., the will to truth) to which, in the second Part, Nietzsche provides the antidote of "The Free Spirit" [described later, 210-211].
 
Holiday20310401
 
Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 06:17 pm
@jgweed,
If truth were a woman?

Well that fits my attraction towards finding the truth just fine. Great!! Laughing
 
Grimlock
 
Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 11:31 pm
@jgweed,
jgweed wrote:
Against this tendency toward "sleepfullness" Nietzsche will oppose a kind of thinking that "is wakefullness itself" by standing truth on her head and supporting a perspectivalist philosophy.


...and then conclude that objective truth does not exist at all...or at least suggest that the often assumed existence of such is a very important question to ask.

"Truth" is a human construct in Nietzsche's epistemology, an attempt at a reduction of reality into terms that allow us to fully grasp her, in all her complexity. And "reduction" (the other sense of the word) seems to be exactly what N had in mind: reductio ad absurdum. Truth is the point of conjunction of all Platonic forms. Objective reality exists, but objective truth, defined as a final answer to the problem (QED, aren't we smart!) is simply impossible.

Hence perspectivism. If you cannot read a woman's mind and woo her with the perfect gift, buy her as much crap as possible and see what she likes.

Although one wonders how much Nietzsche really knew about women.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 10:13 am
@Grimlock,
I am not so sure that given N's position that the world is always interpreted, that he would accept the thesis that truth could be "objective." Indeed, isn't his position that concepts are, in some sense, a necessary way we falsify the complexity of the "dancing chaos" with which we are faced?

In the first Part of "Truth and Lie" he writes:
"Every concept originates through equating the unequal. As certainly as no single leaf is exactly equal to any other, so certain is it that the concept "leaf" has been formed through an arbitrary omission of these individual differences...through a forgetting of the differentiating qualities, and this concept now awakens the notion that in nature these is, besides the leaves, a something called the "leaf"..." (Wilcox translation).
A different translation is found on-line here:
The Nietzsche Channel: On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense


If N. rejects the Kantian notion of thing-in-itself (see especially FW 354, and compare with MA9 orJ11), he also, it seems, rejects the possibility of any sort of objective reality in a transcendental sense, or at least that it is knowable.

What is the last phase or step of the development of our understanding of the world? N. answers this in Chapter IV of G :
"6. The true world---we have abolished. What world has remained? The apparent one perhaps? But no! With the true world we have also abolished the apparent one.
(Noon; moment of the briefest shadow; end of the longest error; high point of humanity; INCIPIT ZARATHUSTRA.)"
The Nietzsche Channel: Twilight of the Idols

(Note: linked translations may differ from these quotations)
 
Grimlock
 
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 10:26 am
@jgweed,
I think we have agreed to agree about what is not true.

It seems to me that N owes a lot more to Aristotle than he ever acknowledged - Heraclitus, as well...though, really, N pretty much left the "acknowledgements" sections of his books unwritten. Master of silence, that Nietzsche.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 10:39 am
@Grimlock,
Like everything else, it is a matter of interpretation and perspective, and Nietzsche is certainly far from consistent himself on many subjects and positions---one has only to follow the transformations of "Dionysian" in his writings.
There is no one valid interpretation of Nietzsche, and our understanding of him can only increase by comparing perspectives.
John
 
Grimlock
 
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 11:01 am
@jgweed,
Well said. Ok, do you see a necessary connection between Nietzsche's concept of "free will" (anti-atomism/materialism - BG&E 21, if I recall correctly) and his belief in the nonexistence of objective truth?

I do, but I'd rather give truth a fondle than club her over the head and drag her back to the cave, so I'm more interested in hearing your opinion than giving my own.

Two admirers of Nietzsche hungry for another perspective...what a clusterfcuk.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 24 Nov, 2009 07:19 pm
@Grimlock,
Why do we want the truth in the first place? Why not rather lies? ---Brilliant question.

And this question of Nietzsche's got me thinking about just that. I think we want "truth" for practical reasons (a map of the territory), and for mythological-religious reasons. Truth as an Idol / Ideal.

I see Nietzsche as a Vortext. He is a self-eating self-shitting woman with seven horns. (Derrida's Spurs in one of the few Derrida books that didn't annoy me. He examines exactly this concept of truth as a (castrating) woman. )

Nietzsche didn't actually have any new values to offer (power? yeah right..)- and he is not as original and some suppose (me, when I had only read Nietzsche, for instance). He was indeed arguably just an(other) inversion of Plato -- a sophist. And yet his passion was obviously of a religious intensity.

Christ the Lion -- Is Nietzsche's superman much different than Christ in the book of Revelation?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 10:44 pm
@Grimlock,
Spurs: Nietzsche's styles - Google Books


The book starts slow. This is only some of it, but it's free. I got a paperback from the library. It was the first Derrida text that earned my respect. His style is not the user-friendliest. But Margins is also good. Especially the White Mythology, which for me links with Truth as a Woman.
 
prothero
 
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 01:17 am
@Grimlock,
I thought we were going to talk about Sophia, the wisdom woman. My bad.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 02:38 am
@Grimlock,
Man identifies with his mask, his persona. A Woman is never her mask. It is the essence of Woman to always manage a plurality. Man is the mask. Woman wears the mask. If Truth is a Woman then Truth is always Surface (Make-Up). Truth, if a Woman, is never finished getting ready.

This is just "Man" and "Woman" used symbolically.
 
attano
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 03:47 pm
@Grimlock,
Grimlock;24440 wrote:
I'd like to kick ball of "truth" around a bit here, if I may. In typical Nietzsche fashion, I think he began the cycle of what I consider his most important two books (BG&E and GM) with his own answer to the final question posed: does "truth" exist and if so what is it's value.

So what if truth is a woman? Does that mean that if you get truth drunk, you can have your way with her? What is the connection between N's idea of truth and his idea of "free will", or the will to power, more generally?


If the question is What is the connection between N's idea of truth and his idea of "free will", or the will to power, more generally?, the answer to me is simple: none. N. has no idea of free will - will to power is no free will.

The question left is does "truth" exist and if so what is it's value?and what is N.'s answer. And this one, indeed, is big.


I red through the posts and tend to agree with JG, I mean that what he wrote if fully supported by texts.
[JG, I don't understand
jgweed;24475 wrote:
standing truth on her head and supporting a perspectivalist philosophy.

I would grateful if you can add more details to this.]

Still, I think I can add a few things.

It is maybe outside the scope of the question, but it is worth reminding that for some time N. "believed" in thruth. The author of Human, All too Human and Dawn believed in some final, bitter and awful truth - and that almost killed him.
I guess that this is "plain" and known. The interesting part - and more open to dispute - comes with the Gay Science, the book after Dawn.

The author of the 1st edition of the GS, more specifically the author of books 1-3, was still a materialist, a positivist, a free spirit, a man of knowledge, but he considered that the awful truth of Human, All too Human was no longer his stella polaris in philosophizing. (This might have been the turning point of N's life - there's a number of elements available to support this view).

And it was probably in this moment that the question

[QUOTE=Reconstructo;105704]Why do we want the truth in the first place? Why not rather lies? [/quote]
came up.

And N chose "lies". (One wonders how much it was a real choice as he felt he was dying of truth. But as - I insist - there is no free will, that would be perfectly consistent :bigsmile:).
But "Lies" here mean appearance, the "honest" apperance, the "good will" of appearance: Art (check GS 54 and 57).

This initial reversal of perspective, after his personal experience, evolved to BG&E 4:



(Helen Zimmern translation)


So, it can be argued that he thought that truth cannot be known, or, even better, that it would be better to ignore truth (see BG&E 24).
Still, and this is my point, the actual target of N's arguments is the will to truth, not truth in itself.

 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 09:25 pm
@attano,
attano;135584 wrote:

So, it can be argued that he thought that truth cannot be known, or, even better, that it would be better to ignore truth (see BG&E 24).
Still, and this is my point, the actual target of N's arguments is the will to truth, not truth in itself.


You touch on some great themes. Neitzsche's philosophy is necessarily paradoxical & ironic. He posits truth as dynamic, which is the inversion of Plato, and yet this destabilizes this same destabilization. If nothing is true, then it is also not true that nothing is true.
So Nietzsche himself becomes a sort of comedian, a ferment, or as he himself said: dynamite. Nietzsche is a vortex of self-consciousness, self-suspicion, and self-glorification. Also a genius and a bit of a fool.
 
prothero
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 10:14 pm
@Grimlock,
The reason why women did not need to study the Talmud
was
because women were born wise
but
men had to study.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 10:19 pm
@prothero,
prothero;135749 wrote:
The reason why women did not need to study the Talmud
was
because women were born wise
but
men had to study.


Very nice! Do you know Mencken? He wrote "In Defence of Women," where he paints them all as Nietzsches, and their husbands as ignorant Platos. But this is just one aspect of a strange book.In defense of women - Google Books

---------- Post added 03-03-2010 at 11:20 PM ----------

Reconstructo;130944 wrote:

This is just "Man" and "Woman" used symbolically.


Man as essence. Woman as accident. But the two are always married down on Earth.

Woman is a lazy curvaceous 8. Man is a minimalistic lance. Is human experience no more than numinous essence imposed on sensual accident?
Is essence more numinous as it approaches a totalization? Is the spiritual phallus just a Master concept, whose rule is never certain?

Is human experience a duality that synthesizes itself upon the perception of this duality, by the means of self-consciousness?
 
 

 
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