Is Nietzsche's "God is dead" misunderstood?

Get Email Updates Email this Topic Print this Page

Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 5 Jun, 2010 11:50 am
@qualia,
qualia;168525 wrote:

W
hat can we say her? For me, Nietzsche's general thesis in this section is that there is a tendency to believe that our grammar, the structure of our langauge, faithfully reflects the structure of the world.

This idea can be seen most strongly in the aphorisms 16 to 19. By the time we get to 20, I think N is raising the suspicion that our entire grammar, its structural features I pressume, along with our own internal psychological-cultural dispositions, directs the very possibility of our thinking and the possibility of ideas within it.

N attacks the idea of a self-contained res cogintan 'I' (16),
the atomic view - self-contained irreducible units of matter - of the world (12), Kant's faculties (11) as either trivial expressions of a grammar or useful tools to support psychological drives. By the time we arrive to aphorism 4 we see a general picture forming: certain fundamental beliefs are useful 'logical fictions', that is, the necessary truth of such propositions ( such as, every event has a cause) is a result of the structure of language which then leads him into that short discussion of truth.

What can be said here in relation to what Reconstructo has been suggesting?
Stemming from N's attack on opposites (aphorisms 2) and how banal and trivial they come to be, he argues that falsehood is probably of more value to humans than truth, or their sloppy definitions-theories (how many is it today?) on what exactly is truth. Perhaps the search for truth is something useful, pragmatic, helpful to creatures like ourselves, rather than having anything to do with some fundamental objectivity. N then claims that certain fundamental beliefs are nothing more than convenient "fictions" (every event has a cause; all colored objects have some spatial extent), which are not something which can be objectively founded. They are universally accepted, according to N, only because they are "indispensable" to our way of life, psychological dispositions, and grammar. It follows that for N, "untruth" and our seeking of untruths wrapped up in the langauge of truth is a "condition of life." (should be enough polemic here to get our conservative anal-lytics hot under the collar :devilish:)


Ah, it's interesting and perhaps Nietzsche was aware of it...The idea of an intelligible aspect of the world outside the language we use to think/describe it exists also within this same thinking/description. The real is rational in the sense that the limits of my language are the limits of the intelligibility of the world for me. But what is the world and what this me? Also part of the system of concepts, and this "system of concepts" is also part of the system of concepts. Nietzsche and Hegel were much more alike than is generally realized, I think. Both presented truth as dialectical, and saw how important language was in our experience/interpretation of the world.
Why do philosophers go so far beyond the pragmatic "truths"? I argue that philosophers are artists, even. They demand a greater conceptual coherence than others, and therefore end up with not immediately practical and sometimes relatively shocking conclusions. To point out the self as a construct of language is not something for the light-hearted, or maybe it is, after one processes the implications of this.
 
Fido
 
Reply Sat 5 Jun, 2010 09:15 pm
@qualia,
qualia;168525 wrote:


Thanks a lot for the post, attano. I won't have time to reply to it all today (exam time for the students is coming up and it's always the busiest time of year), but I will try to make a little inroad.

The language interpretation I claim is Nietzschean is more an amalgamation of ideas tweaked out from his essays and books, for clearly, N didn't give a singular theory in anyone book. Nevertheless with that said, we could, as you have suggested, go into BG&E and try to wean out some of his ideas on language here. There isn't that many, but I think the first 23 aphorisms are a good place to start.

What can we say her? For me, Nietzsche's general thesis in this section is that there is a tendency to believe that our grammar, the structure of our langauge, faithfully reflects the structure of the world.

This idea can be seen most strongly in the aphorisms 16 to 19. By the time we get to 20, I think N is raising the suspicion that our entire grammar, its structural features I pressume, along with our own internal psychological-cultural dispositions, directs the very possibility of our thinking and the possibility of ideas within it.

N attacks the idea of a self-contained res cogintan 'I' (16), the atomic view - self-contained irreducible units of matter - of the world (12), Kant's faculties (11) as either trivial expressions of a grammar or useful tools to support psychological drives. By the time we arrive to aphorism 4 we see a general picture forming: certain fundamental beliefs are useful 'logical fictions', that is, the necessary truth of such propositions ( such as, every event has a cause) is a result of the structure of language which then leads him into that short discussion of truth.

What can be said here in relation to what Reconstructo has been suggesting? Stemming from N's attack on opposites (aphorisms 2) and how banal and trivial they come to be, he argues that falsehood is probably of more value to humans than truth, or their sloppy definitions-theories (how many is it today?) on what exactly is truth. Perhaps the search for truth is something useful, pragmatic, helpful to creatures like ourselves, rather than having anything to do with some fundamental objectivity. N then claims that certain fundamental beliefs are nothing more than convenient "fictions" (every event has a cause; all colored objects have some spatial extent), which are not something which can be objectively founded. They are universally accepted, according to N, only because they are "indispensable" to our way of life, psychological dispositions, and grammar. It follows that for N, "untruth" and our seeking of untruths wrapped up in the langauge of truth is a "condition of life." (should be enough polemic here to get our conservative anal-lytics hot under the collar :devilish:)


If I may... Truth may be a moral form, and an infinite; but it is also an essenttial in every life... And if you agree with me, that culture is knowledge then you must ask: Why would a culture deliberately deliver false ideas to its subscribers when, for the culture to survive all individuals must survive... Clearly, some people deliberately suck the meaning out of their cultures and social forms... They stretch the truth to the breaking point... Others recognize that we can only address the truth by way of analogy, so they suggest the truth as fiction, and that may be the best way we have of expressing truth, because the more scientific, and theoretical we become the further we get from truth as an absolute...
 
jgweed
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 10:06 am
@franciscus,
Nietzsche's "gift," to borrow from Alderman, was to question, in an intense and existential way, the assumptions of mankind most basic thinking hitherto. Yet unlike Descartes' questioning in the comfort of a cozy room, he came to no absolute conclusions, only tentative proposals for intellectual experimentation.
His thoughts on language, perhaps suggested by the genealogical approach he took in examining normative concepts and words, seem meant to be thought-provoking and not a preamble to definitive or universally applicable conclusions.
No doubt that some aspects of language present the possibilities of "falsification," but others, it could be argued, truthfully reflect the world of appearances. They are true because they "work" and have been useful to humankind through the ages, and are not necessarily fictions. Many of our descriptions of the world of objects, which N. never questioned, seem to fall into this category: a rose is a rose is a rose. Nor, it seems, did he question whether Wagner, Gast, or Burckhardt were but phantasms in his mind. One must be careful to distinguish "adequate" descriptions in some areas and horizons, from those (necessary fictions, perhaps) used by mankind in other areas.
 
attano
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 03:23 pm
@Fido,
Fido;173693 wrote:
If I may... Truth may be a moral form, and an infinite; but it is also an essenttial in every life... And if you agree with me, that culture is knowledge then you must ask: Why would a culture deliberately deliver false ideas to its subscribers when, for the culture to survive all individuals must survive... Clearly, some people deliberately suck the meaning out of their cultures and social forms... They stretch the truth to the breaking point... Others recognize that we can only address the truth by way of analogy, so they suggest the truth as fiction, and that may be the best way we have of expressing truth, because the more scientific, and theoretical we become the further we get from truth as an absolute...


I - and probably Qualia too - wanted to focus on the fact that objective truth is an idol.

N. presented the thesis that moral truth (i.e. the affirmation of the values of one culture) precedes and influences "objective" truth - even logic axioms would be the reflection of moral values.
(Btw, don't believe that N.'s statements in this respect are of the kind of those made by some trends of PostmodernismPlatonism for the masses) has brought the West to some unhealthy condition where its culture generates/endorses ideas that are damaging its subscribers, inasmuch these ideas foster conditions damaging the expression and the exertion of vital instincts, impulses, forces.
One of the most harmful ideas, possibly the most harmful of all - but that's debatable, has been the idea of truth itself, the idea that knowledge is seeking the truth and not to empower life.
This is not in contradiction with your say that truth is essential in every life, it rather follows the same line.

Some other elements that may help to have a better understanding of N.'s position.
- Christianity has not started as an evil plot against humanity. N. never maintained that. Incidentally, N. had no hatred for Jesus Christ, most probably quite the opposite. The problem didn't start with Christ, but with Socrates. He's the corrupter... He corrupted Plato, and hence the problem started.
- The search for truth has been harmful for Christianity itself, as it has led to the death of God and the implosion of the Christian faith.
- Finally, N. repeatedly affirmed that the knowledge acquired trough our senses is probably the most reliable knowledge that we have.

So your remark is not an objection to N.'s position, but rather a good start for understanding it.
 
Fido
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 04:28 pm
@attano,
attano;173892 wrote:
I - and probably Qualia too - wanted to focus on the fact that objective truth is an idol.

N. presented the thesis that moral truth (i.e. the affirmation of the values of one culture) precedes and influences "objective" truth - even logic axioms would be the reflection of moral values.
(Btw, don't believe that N.'s statements in this respect are of the kind of those made by some trends of PostmodernismPlatonism for the masses) has brought the West to some unhealthy condition where its culture generates/endorses ideas that are damaging its subscribers, inasmuch these ideas foster conditions damaging the expression and the exertion of vital instincts, impulses, forces.
One of the most harmful ideas, possibly the most harmful of all - but that's debatable, has been the idea of truth itself, the idea that knowledge is seeking the truth and not to empower life.
This is not in contradiction with your say that truth is essential in every life, it rather follows the same line.

Some other elements that may help to have a better understanding of N.'s position.
- Christianity has not started as an evil plot against humanity. N. never maintained that. Incidentally, N. had no hatred for Jesus Christ, most probably quite the opposite. The problem didn't start with Christ, but with Socrates. He's the corrupter... He corrupted Plato, and hence the problem started.
- The search for truth has been harmful for Christianity itself, as it has led to the death of God and the implosion of the Christian faith.
- Finally, N. repeatedly affirmed that the knowledge acquired trough our senses is probably the most reliable knowledge that we have.

So your remark is not an objection to N.'s position, but rather a good start for understanding it.

As I said, some people suck the meaning out of their societies, actually out of all their forms of relationship; and this has been happening for a long time, and it always destroys the society and will destroy ours...Societies always advance with a change of forms, but ours is stuck in a rut as old as Plato, in part because his hierarchical society so fit with feudalism and the aims of the Catholic Church... They even changed the nature of the dialectic from a method of discovering truth to one of resolving opposites...Just as with many governments today, when the truth is owned, the truth is only a commodity one can trade for power...

Naturally, the senses sense the physical world, and there we can have objective knowledge of a sort that is denied to us of the moral world... Of morals, Nietzsche was in the same possition as Socrates and of Plato of judging morals without perspective, and it is not necessary, should not be necessary to point out that the world was opening up for the trader and the philosopher, and that other cultures holding different values and morals were comming to light... There is a lesson in primitive cultures as to the meaning of our morals, and Socrates, and Plato, and even Nietzsche had no excuse for not finding it... Morgan was writing at that time, and he was a scholar of many societies...

What Nietzsche rejected that Socrates and Plato rejected was the communism and democracy of primitive peoples everywhere... What all of them missed was the destruction of morals in the move from an honor economy to a money economy... The Greeks were greatly interested in the Barbarian societies that threatened them, and they had the splendid example of the Illiad and Odyssey as a primer in honor societies, but they had lost the charm that held them together, and could no longer make sense of the primitive, vital societies that they saw beyond their borders...

Compared to moral reality, physical reality presents us with no problem... Nietzsche was prejudiced, and did not see in the past the harbingers of failure in our time... He saw vital man as more in touch with his instincts, and his will... In fact; such a man never existed as Nietzsche imagined... The people of the past clung together in their many fears, and no person could be said to own his identity... Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, and Nietzsche were altogether more free, and less moral than Achilles, for example...
 
JLNobody
 
Reply Sat 12 Jun, 2010 08:30 pm
We must keep in mind the danger of reading Nietzsche's metaphors, e.g. the crazy man in the marketplace, the Eternal Recurrence of the same, too literally I, for one, see his pronouncement of God's death as a socio-political historical generalization. Since the Enlightenment and the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions, we have growniaway from our Dark dependence on the myth of God. We killed Him not with knives but with education, industry, and other secular institutions.
In bringing to our attention the historical decline of God (read: hegemony of the The Church), Nietzsche announced to us our freedom to remake our world, to redefine our values to be free and creative. He was not a nihilist, although he sought to sweep away all forms of absolutism as a pragmatic necessity.


 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 12 Jun, 2010 09:38 pm
@Fido,
Fido phil wrote:

kennethamy;160761 wrote:
It is? As an explanation of what?

Of killing of God... When your father, dead and in Heaven has the distant and powerful qualities of a god without the ability to actually be killed, then killing with philosophy is the next best thing...It was Nietzsche trying to get out of his own particular trick bag, and so was his general attack upon morality... These are the sorts of things children do in order to put themselves apart from their families and be recognized as having distinct identities...Individualism is immorality, and nietzsche never found a better method than the one all children use, of denying family, denying God, denying morality, denying sin... He just never grew out of it, but was trapped in puberty forever...He is like a bug trapped in amber, thanks to his volumes.

Of course. Why didn't I think of that?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 12 Jun, 2010 09:39 pm
@JLNobody,
JLNobody wrote:

We must keep in mind the danger of reading Nietzsche's metaphors





I agree with that.
 
 

 
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.02 seconds on 05/10/2021 at 01:58:48