E491 FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE QUESTIONS

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Assigned: "On Truth and Lying in a Non-Moral Sense" (870-84).

"On Truth and Lying in a Non-Moral Sense" (1873)

1. What attitude does Nietzsche convey about the capacity of human intellect and the claims made on its behalf? (874-75)

2. Why, at the beginning of the essay, does Nietzsche more than once imply that the "impulse to truth" is little short of a miracle? (874-75)

3. Nietzsche invokes the social contract as the way in which humans put an end to what Thomas Hobbes called in Leviathan "the war of all against all" (bellum omnium contra omnes). The social contract, says Nietzsche, gave rise to the binary or paired opposing concepts "truth/lie." What does Nietzsche immediately thereafter imply about the separateness and stability of the terms in that paired opposition? What is "truth" in the context of his remarks about the social contract? (875-76)

4. How, according to Nietzsche, does language falsify the world, or let us falsely assert that we know things when we don't? Why might, say, a noun (a substantive, as it's called) harbor a lie? Why is the term "metaphor" important in this essay? (876-77)

5. Nietzsche aims a broadside against "concepts." How do they arise, and what societal purpose does the ability to create them serve? (877-78)

6. What provisional definition of "truth" does Nietzsche offer following from his argument about how concepts are formed, and what conclusions does he draw about the value of "truth"? (878-79)

7. According to Nietzsche, if human beings were momentarily to grasp themselves as "artistically creative subject{s}," what would at once happen to "consciousness of self"? To what is there "at most an aesthetic way of relating"? (880)

8. How does Nietzsche link the pursuit of scientific knowledge to what he has written about the formation of concepts? (881-82)

9. From what impulse, according to Nietzsche, does art spring? What does Nietzsche say about the "man of intuition" -- his language, his force in culture and history? (883-84)

10. How, if at all, does Nietzsche's essay-ending mention of the "stoic who has learned from experience" alter your view of the "man of intuition's" accomplishment? (883-84)

11. What has Nietzsche achieved in this essay? That is, what has happened to the binary opposition between "truth" and "lying" now that Nietzsche has examined it in his "non-moral" sense? (general question)

Edition: Leitch, Vincent B., ed. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. 1st ed. New York: Norton, 2001. ISBN 0-393-97429-4.