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Nietzsche on Truth and Philosophy (Modern European Philosophy) Reprint Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521348508
ISBN-10: 0521348501
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Editorial Reviews


"...it is especially satisfying to come across Nietzsche scholarship that is not only challenging and original, but also offers a thoughtful, well argued, and meticulously researched account of Nietzsche's project. In other words, it is truly rewarding to come across a work like Clark's Nietzsche On Truth and Philosophy." International Philosophical Quarterly

"This book is an important contribution to Anglo-American Nietzsche scholarship. It represents the most ambitious (and most successful) attempt to date to subject Nietzsche's philosophy to the rigorous analysis usually reserved for mainstream philosophers. Carefully argued and scrupulously researched, this impressive study demonstrates both the possiblity and the value of taking Nietzsche seriously as a thinker of the first rank. Maudemarie Clark has delivered a book that should stimulate Nietzsche scholarship for many years to come." Review of Metaphysics

Book Description

An analytical account of the central topics of Nietzsche's epistemology and metaphysics, includes his views on truth and language, his perspectivism, and his doctrines of the will-to-power and the eternal recurrence.

Product Details

  • Series: Modern European Philosophy
  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; Reprint edition (February 22, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521348501
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521348508
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #634,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 11, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was one of the key books I used in my thesis on Nietzsche,along with another book on Nietzsche and Truth, John T.Wilcox's "Truth and Value in Nietzsche". If you are pursuing the same path, I suggest you read Wilcox first, then Clark. Wilcox' arguments are more lucid, taking a very common sensical approach to adducing Nietzsche's final position.

Cark's book, however, deals with the development of Nietzsche's ideas from the start, with the much quoted (and perhaps poorly understood) unpublished essay, "On Truth and Lie in the Extra-moral Sense" through to his final "neo-Kantian" position by the time he publishes his six stages in the evolution of positions about truth.

I sympathize with the reviewers who felt the book was difficult and perhaps confused, but I unconditionally deny that Dr. Clark validates her positions by "cherry picking." Nietzsche's writing is marvelously lucid from one sentence to the next, but you may often complete one of his books with no clear idea of what he himself really believed.

Since I read and browsed many different books on Nietzsche, I can say with some authority that Mr. Clark's book is considered one of the best on this particular aspect of Nietzsche's thought by others who write on the subject. But I would certainly not go so far as to say it was the best on Nietzsche overall, since it simply does not addres a wide range of Nietzschean topics. Walter Kaufmann's classic is still king of the hill on Nietzsche commentary. But if you are doing any projects on Nietzsche, this is a good book to own, on Kindle (although I used a hard copy.)

The Bibliography is especially good, if only because it limits itself to material written in the last 30 years (except for the obvious references to Plato and Kant.)
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Format: Paperback
I really admire the ambitiousness and courageousness of Clark's highly controversial readings of Nietzsche. It takes guts--and hard work--to defend her more outlandish claims, and I even admire the undercurrent of unmitigated contrariness that seems to motivate this aspect of her work ("Well, if everybody's going to say Nietzsche's anti-democratic, I'll say he's pro-democracy! Yes, that's the ticket!)

Unfortunately, she just doesn't make a very good case for her more interesting views. Even when I agree with the conclusions, I find her arguments far-fetched or just silly. Take, e.g., her treatment of the puzzling and well-known section 36 of Beyond Good and Evil, where Nietzsche appears to seriously entertain the view that the world is the will to power. Clark's solution to this admittedly problematic passage is to argue that Nietzsche inserts an argument and conclusion into his text that he disagrees with in order to show that he disagrees with it. You'd think the best way to show that would be to actually say so--or better yet, never to bring it up in the first place.

In any case, Clark does make a brave attempt to back up this reading, but ultimately it requires far too much cherry picking, twisting, and torturing of the text. By way of comparison, did you know that Nietzsche believes in God? It's true, he says so! "I" (p.20) "believe" (p.430) "in" (p.27) "God" (p.388)

Ultimately, Clark's book suffers from the same problem as so many interpretations (particularly the po-mo ones) do: her interpretation begins with what she wants Nietzsche to be, then forces him to be it.
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Format: Paperback
I began this book with no small trepidation. I am not generally fond of Nietzsche, but have recently felt that he at least deserved to be engaged with systematically. I have been reading his works and I picked up this book on an off chance, knowing little about it except that Clark sought to systematically present Nietzsche as an anti-metaphysical author. And in doing this, she highlights his strengths and weaknesses.
I appreciate her sophisticated rebuttal of much current and past Nietzsche scholarship, especially the mis-reading of him by the so-called 'post-structuralists'/'deconstructionists'. Her critique of their absolute relativism, and Nietzsche's eventual rejection of that in favor of a radical perspectivism, which at bottom is founded on a kind of neo-Kantianism, won me over to the value of the book. And that kind of thing is necessary when you slog through the first two chapters, which may be necessary, but which are also ponderous.
The failure I find most interesting, however, ultimately undermines her own argument and releases Nietzsche from any kind of coherence in relation to truth. She basically premises her reading of Nietzsche at a key point contra Magnus on the question of whether Nietzsche is arguing against 'truth as the whole'. She argues that he is not and that Nietzsche was familiar with no philosopher who would have argued as such. It is here that I must reject her argument, for Hegel very much championed this notion of 'truth is the whole' and Nietzsche seems, contrary to Clark's otherwise well-thought out scholarship, not only familiar with Hegel, but also in debate with Hegel throughout much of his work. Hegel is the hidden text to Nietzsche as Aristotle is the hidden text to Hegel's Philosophy of Right.
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