Contents Acknowledgments ix Preface to the Expanded Edition xiii Preface to the Morningside Edition xix Original Preface xxiii Nietzsche as Philosopher 1. Philosophical Nihilism 1 2. Art and Irrationality 18 3. Perspectivism 50 4. Philosophical Psychology 82 5. Moralities 112 6. Religious Psychology 144 7. Übermenschand Eternal Recurrence 177 8. The Will-to-Power 196 Nachwort 211 Aftertexts 1. The Tongues of Angels and Men: Nietzsche as Semantical Nihilist 217 2. A Comment on Nietzsche’s “Artistic Metaphysics” 229 3. Beginning to be Nietzsche: On Human, All Too Human 233 4. Nietzsche’s Daybreak: Thoughts on the Prejudices of Morality 245 5. Some Remarks on The Genealogy of Morals 251 Notes 271 Index 281.
Acknowledgments Nietzsche as Philosophergrew out of a long essay on Nietzsche, originally written as a contribution for A Critical History of Western Philoso- phy, edited by D. J. O’Connor, and published in 1964. The authors were not historians of philosophy so much as philosophers who, for one reason or other, had some particular interest in a figure from the past. It was a mo- ment when analytical philosophers had begun to think of the canonical texts of our discipline as something more than nonsense, which meant that the largely iconoclastic views of philosophy, militantly espoused by logical positivism, were at last losing their charm. I was invited to contribute to the O’Connor volume by the general editor of the series in which it appeared, Paul Edwards, largely because my philosophical credentials passed muster and because I was the only one he happened to know who met that crite- rion and also seemed to know anything about Nietzsche. Admittedly, I did not know a lot—but I had read Nietzsche as an undergraduate at Wayne University in Detroit with Marianna Cowan, who later published a superb translation of Beyond Good and Evil. I accepted the invitation chiefly out of brashness and wrote the essay in Rome. I had moved there from the south of France, where I had completed a draft of my first major book,The Ana- lytical Philosophy of History. As it turned out, my essay was too long, but Edwards offered me a contract for a book on Nietzsche if I would agree to shorten the article. The Analytical Philosophy of History and Nietzsche as Philosopherwere published in the same year, 1965.
danto_pages 12/10/04 4:47 PM Page xiii Preface to the Expanded Edition A few years before the killings at Columbine, a group of youths in Pearl River, Mississippi, embarked on a rampage of murder and brutality, in- spired, according to their leader, by the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. The aggressors did not describe themselves as “Supermen” but as “thinkers,” set apart from the “herd” who did not understand them—parents, teachers, and insufficiently responsive girls, to whom they felt themselves entitled to teach a hard lesson. As I followed the accounts in theNew York Times, I thought of how dangerous Nietzsche—as the prophet of the Superman, the critic of herd morality, the self-styled Antichrist—still can be for turbulent minds who dis- cover in him someone, finally, who understands their value, sees into their hearts, knows their hurt, tells them they are beyond good and evil, and li- censes their will-to-power. Despite the effort by intellectuals of the last four decades to transform Nietzsche into a benign presence—a hermeneutician, a deconstructionist, a literary artist, a feminist—his vivid images and incendiary language can still arouse muddled youths to gun down girls who spurn them, stab their nagging mothers, or torture animals to demonstrate their unflinch- ing strength. The fact that he is universally acknowledged a great philosopher lends a certain authority to the ferocity of his injunctions and his scary menu of permissions.
danto_pages 12/10/04 4:47 PM Page xix Preface to the Morningside Edition arthurdantist,n. One who straightens the teeth of exotic dogmas. “Little Friedrich used to say the most wonderful things before we took him to the arthurdantist.”—Frau Nietzsche —DANIEL DENNETT AND KAREL LAMBERT, THE PHILOSOPHICAL LEXICON From one of the innumerable pensions in which he passed the restless years of his forced retirement from the University of Basle, and dur- ing which he composed the amazing texts which house his philosophy, Nietzsche wrote to his psychological collaborator and amatory rival Paul Rée of having met a remarkable fellow guest: the editor of what Nietzsche iden- tified as “the most prestigious philosophical journal of the anglo-saxon world.” In high excitement, Nietzsche informed Rée of the great interest this personage expressed in their work, and of how anxious he was to publish something of it. The guest, by comedic happenstance, was Croom Robert- son, the editor of Mind, even then a periodical of singular austerity and rig- orous logical address. Nietzsche and the editor of Mind! It was one of those cruel ironic encounters of polar opposites which Max Beerbohm fantastically depicted in a delicious genre of his invention: Charles Darwin and the Arch- bishop of Canterbury, say, or—to underscore the absurdities of incommuni- cation with more contemporary possibilities—Simone Weil and the editor of Gourmet, Ti-Grace Atkinson and the editor of Playboy,or Che Guevara and the editor of Forbes; caricatures of what organizers of conferences solemnize as “dialogue.” And I can picture poor Mr. Robertson, riveted by an Etonian politeness to the conventions of the common-table, interposing “How fasci- nating!” or “Come now!” as his partner, through his eccentric moustache, declaims, over the potato soup and the sauerbraten, of the Superman, the Eternal Return, the origins of tragedy in the Dionysiac orgy, slave morality, and.
danto_pages 12/10/04 4:47 PM Page xxiii Preface The vocabulary of philosophy is much less technical than the layman might suppose; many of its words are from the common lexicon of everyday, ordinary speech. Thus, the distances between the philosophical use of these terms and their usual employment in daily communication might seem negligible to the nonphilosopher, who had expected, perhaps, words more recondite or exotic. Accordingly, he might think to apply sen- tences, which make a philosophical use of a word, to situations, where the ordinary use of that word is called for. When this occurs, however, tensions always arise. The philosophical sentence sometimes seems insanely irrele- vant in contexts where the mere wordshave an otherwise unexceptionable application; and the ordinary sentences have an almost comic impertinence when inserted in philosophical discussion. Suppose, for example, a man is pinned under a log and complains that he cannot get free. It would be ab- surd to reply to him that none of us can, because we live in a deterministic world. It would be just as absurd as for a dentist to direct us to seek nir- vana—a general surcease from the suffering of the world—when we merely complain of a toothache. Or for an arch seducer to remind a reluctant maiden that the Bible enjoins us to love our neighbour. It is difficult to get the two sets of uses to mesh harmoniously; perhaps it is impossible.