Wittgenstein, Nietzsche, and future philosophers: The Notion of Truth in Philosophy

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Abstract

Wittgenstein compares his attempt to teach a ‘new movement of thought’ with Nietzsche’s re-evaluation of values, and connects his conception that philosophy should be written as poetry with Nietzsche’s approach to philosophy. This chapter develops an interpretation of Wittgenstein’s remarks in light of his rejection of philosophical or metaphysical theses in the sense of true/false propositions concerning universal/exceptionless essential necessities. Whilst philosophical accounts can on Wittgenstein’s view be true, truth in philosophy, as in poetry, isn’t to be understood either in terms of the truth of empirical propositions or philosophical/metaphysical theses. I suggest that Wittgenstein’s conception of truth in philosophy can help to understand what Nietzsche might have had in mind by questioning the value of truth and by proposing a re-evaluation of philosophers’ will to truth. On this account Wittgenstein emerges as one of the non-dogmatic future philosophers, whose arrival Nietzsche predicts. I conclude by outlining how Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morals can be understood, not as a poorly justified piece of empirical history, but as an instance of philosophical poetry in Wittgenstein’s sense. On this interpretation, Nietzsche articulates a possible account of morality by developing a novel mode of representing its genealogy. By articulating this possibility he is able to question certain widely held assumptions about the systematicity of morality, whilst the justification and truth of Nietzsche’s alternative as a positive account of morality depends on its clarificatory capacity. Nietzsche’s approach in Genealogy can also be usefully compared with Wittgenstein’s natural historical methods, understood as a special case of philosophical methodology.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWittgestein and Nietzsche
EditorsShunichi Takagi, Pascal Zambito
PublisherRoutledge
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 30 Sep 2021

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