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He readily acknowledges the importance of that sort of analysis consisting in the careful description of what presently obtains. He argues, however, that an ‘historical sense’ is indispensable for the philosopher if he is to achieve any real understanding of the nature and significance of the phenomena whose present structures are thus described. And an ‘historical sense’ is something he considers most philosophers to have lacked almost completely. All philosophers have the common defect that they start out from present-day man and expect to reach their goal through an analysis of him.

What value do prevailing ‘values’ themselves possess? It is above all to questions such as these that Nietzsche considers it imperative for philosophers to address themselves. And he takes this task to be complicated by the fact that there is nothing pertaining to the objects of inquiry in each case which may be considered unproblematical. It cannot be assumed in ontological inquiry, for example, that even the most basic categories of our thought reflect actual features of reality; or that there is a qualitative ontological difference between non-human reality and our own.

These considerations may not be decisive, but they should serve at least to render his insistence upon the valuecreating function of philosophy intelligible. Nietzsche further suggests that the ‘philosophers of the future’ he envisions may appropriately ‘be called attempters’ (BGE 42) or ‘men of experiments’ (BGE 210), and terms philosophy as he conceives and practices it ‘experimental’ (WP 1041). This point, noted previously, to some extent both clarifies and is clarified by his conception of the creative character of philosophy.

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A Review of the Literature up to 1976 by HENRY EYRING and DOUGLAS HENDERSON (Eds.)


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