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And just as every porter wants to have an admirer, so even the proudest of men, the philosopher, supposes that he sees on all sides the eyes of the universe telescopically focused upon his action and thought. A uniformly valid and binding designation is invented for things, and this legislation of language likewise establishes the first laws of truth. For the contrast between truth and lie arises here for the first time.
The liar is a person who uses the valid designations, the words, in order to make something which is unreal appear to be real. If he does this in a selfish and moreover harmful manner, society will cease to trust him and will thereby exclude him. What men avoid by excluding the liar is not so much being defrauded as it is being harmed by means of fraud.
Thus, even at this stage, what they hate is basically not deception itself, but rather the unpleasant, hated consequences of certain sorts of deception. It is in a similarly restricted sense that man now wants nothing but truth: he desires the pleasant, life-preserving consequences of truth. He is indifferent toward pure knowledge which has no consequences.
Are they perhaps products of knowledge, that is, of the sense of truth? Are designations congruent with things? Is language the adequate expression of all realities? What is a word? It is the copy in sound of a nerve stimulus. What arbitrary differentiations! What one-sided preferences, first for this, then for that property of a thing! The various languages placed side by side show that with words it is never a question of truth, never a question of adequate expression; otherwise, there would not be so many languages.
This creator only designates the relations of things to men, and for expressing these relations he lays hold of the boldest metaphors… It is this way with all of us concerning language; we believe that we know something about the things themselves when we speak of trees, colors, snow, and flowers; and yet we possess nothing but metaphors for things — metaphors which correspond in no way to the original entities… A word becomes a concept insofar as it simultaneously has to fit countless more or less similar cases — which means, purely and simply, cases which are never equal and thus altogether unequal.
Every concept arises from the equation of unequal things. With this, Nietzsche returns to his central premise and distills the notion of truth as a social contract in language:. What then is truth? A movable host of metaphors, metonymies, and anthropomorphisms: in short, a sum of human relations which have been poetically and rhetorically intensified, transferred, and embellished, and which, after long usage, seem to a people to be fixed, canonical, and binding.
Truths are illusions which we have forgotten are illusions — they are metaphors that have become worn out and have been drained of sensuous force, coins which have lost their embossing and are now considered as metal and no longer as coins. And yet what Nietzsche tenders is not relativism but a framework for differentiating between truth and lie, rooted in the understanding that language — a human invention and social adaptation — is too porous a vessel for holding pure reality beyond the anthropocentric:.
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To be truthful means to employ the usual metaphors. The venerability, reliability, and utility of truth is something which a person demonstrates for himself from the contrast with the liar, whom no one trusts and everyone excludes. He will no longer tolerate being carried away by sudden impressions, by intuitions. First he universalizes all these impressions into less colorful, cooler concepts, so that he can entrust the guidance of his life and conduct to them.
Everything which distinguishes man from the animals depends upon this ability to volatilize perceptual metaphors in a schema, and thus to dissolve an image into a concept. The ultimate aim of this liberation is independent self-mastery and supreme health in a life of continual experimentation and adventure. This ideal is akin to images Nietzsche develops later, particularly in "On the Three Metamorphoses" in Thus Spoke Zarathustra and in the description of the philosophers of the future in Beyond Good and Evil.
Although Nietzsche suggests a perspectival view in the unpublished "On Truth and Lies" essay, Human, All Too Human is the first published work in which he defends his famed perspectivism, the view that "truths" are one and all interpretations formulated. On one extreme are those who see this as a brand of neo-Kantianism that simply spells out the implication of Kant's theory that the world as it appears to us is constructed by our particular human faculties. On the other extreme are those who read Nietzsche's perspectivism as a radical form of relativism, one which denies any basis for preferring one perspective to another.
Philosophers in the Anglo-American tradition are also especially fond of examining Nietzsche's perspectivism from the standpoint of the famed "liar's paradox. Nietzsche has been accused of adopting a similarly paradoxical position. If all knowledge claims are interpretations, that should hold also for the claim that all knowledge claims are merely interpretations.
But if this is so, according to some, Nietzsche has undermined the status and force of his own claim.
Others, however, see no reason why Nietzsche would not acknowledge that his own claims are interpretations, pointing to textual passages where he seems to do just that. Nietzsche denies that morality is anything but perspectival. Contrary to the claims of moralists, morality is not inherent in or determined by reality. It does not limn human nature.
Instead, it is the invention of human beings. Moreover, morality has not been the same in every culture and at every time.
Nietzsche explicitly contrasts Christian and Greek moral thought, typically claiming that Greek thought had been vastly superior. Personally, Nietzsche considered the book a breakthrough because it openly articulated his unconventional conclusions for the first time. It also sealed the break with Richard Wagner, who received the book with stony silence. Nietzsche also considered himself to have moved beyond the sway of Schopenhauerian metaphysics by this point.
Human, All Too Human also represents a stylistic departure from Nietzsche's earlier writing. While his previous works had typically been in the forms of essays or similarly structured longer works,.
Human, All Too Human is the first of Nietzsche's "aphoristic" works. That is, it is written as an assembly of short discussions sometimes literally aphorisms which are strung together like beads, often without obvious connections between adjacent fragments. This appearance is often deceptive, however. Nietzsche orders his fragments to achieve a given effect, suggesting but not dogmatically asserting comparisons and contrasts, while challenging his readers to draw their own conclusions. From Human, All Too Human onward, the fragmentary "aphoristic" style predominated in Nietzsche's writings.
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The biographical motivation for composing in this style may have been largely one of necessity - Nietzsche's migraines were so oppressive and visually impairing that he had to resort to intermittent bursts of writing and dictation as a method. Moreover, this style is a suitable vehicle to reflect the movements and discontinuities of thought on given topics, an issue with which Nietzsche was profoundly concerned.
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These books were more conventionally aphoristic than the earlier volume, largely consisting of extremely terse, condensed formulations. Schopenhauer and Wagner receive more direct attacks than previously, and Nietzsche is more strident in his rejection of metaphysics on the grounds that like historical scholarship it is not approached with sufficient attention to its value or lack of value for actual living.
It is perhaps also more masterful than the earlier work. Indeed, Nietzsche seems bent on conveying a particular type of experience in thinking to his readers, much more than he is concerned to persuade his readers to adopt any particular point of view. Nietzsche criticized the Christian moral worldview on a number of grounds that he was to develop further in his later works.
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His basic case rests on psychological analyses of the motivations and effects that stem from the adoption of the Christian moral perspective. In this respect, Daybreak typifies Nietzsche's ad hominem approach to morality. Nietzsche asks primarily, "What kind of person would be inclined to adopt this perspective? These categories deprecate human experience, making its significance appear much more vile than it actually is.
Painting reality in a morbid light, Christian moral concepts motivate Christians to adopt somewhat paranoid and hostile attitudes toward their own behavior and that of others.
Convinced of their own sinfulness and worthiness of eternal damnation, Christians are driven to seek spiritual reassurance at tremendous costs in terms of their own mental health and their relationships to others. For instance, Christians feel that they need to escape their embodied selves because they are convinced of their own sinfulness.
They are convinced of their own failure insofar as they believe themselves sinners and believe themselves to be bound by an unfulfillable law of perfect love. In order to ameliorate their sense of guilt and failure, Nietzsche contends, they look to others in the hope of finding them more sinful than themselves. Because the Christian moral worldview has convinced its advocates that their own position is perilous, Christians are driven to judge others to be sinners in order to gain a sense of power over them.