9truthlying - The context of "On Truth and Lying" What we...

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The context of “On Truth and Lying” What we need to keep in mind in interpreting this essay is that Nietzsche adopts a radically Heraclitean view on life and the world. That is to say, instead of assuming Parmenides’s metaphysical worldview, which divides the world into a meta-realm of Being and a subaltern realm of becoming, Nietzsche adopts a view of the world as one of irreducible Becoming, of sheer flux, without any notion of Being or beings (things). Nietzsche’s “sources” for this worldview are Heraclitus, who, he maintains, had “intuitive” insight into the world as flux, and the evidence from contemporary (post- Newtonian) science, with its shift in emphasis from matter (material bodies in the form of stable atoms) to energy and to the world’s constituents as energy events (“becomings”). Another aspect of the context in which “On Truth and Lying” is imbedded is the claim of the philosopher Immanuel Kant that our perception of the world is necessarily distorted because we perceive the real through the lens of subjective “forms,” including space, time, and causality. Put differently, Kant claims that the world we experience in terms of three-dimensional (Euclidean) space, linear time, and cause and effect relations is a mind- dependant one, that is, a world on which we have imposed a certain order that does not correspond to the world as it is according to the Heraclitean perspective of modern (post- Newtonian) science. Finally, the fact that Nietzsche had absorbed Darwin’s notion of natural selection in the context of preservation of species needs to be taken account of. Nietzsche applies the theory of Natural Selection to the mind-dependent world, developing the view that this world, with its relatively stable substances, is the result of a process of adaptation to an unlivable environment that over time has made the human species viable. Nietzsche is fully aware that this adaptation involves the construction and imposition of a world of fixity on the given world of flux, and thus constitutes a falsification of the latter. Put
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This note was uploaded on 04/08/2008 for the course MAP CONVWEST taught by Professor Ulfers during the Fall '07 term at NYU.

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9truthlying - The context of "On Truth and Lying" What we...

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