Nietzsche's Critiques: The Kantian Foundations of His Thought
R. Kevin Hill
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Kevin Hill presents a highly original study of Nietzsche's thought, the first book to examine in detail his debt to the work of Kant. Hill argues that Nietzsche is a systematic philosopher who knew Kant far better than is commonly thought, and that he can only be properly understood in relation to him. Nietzsche's Critiques will be of great value to scholars and students with interests in either of these philosophical giants, or in the history of ideas generally.
began to drift apart. By the 1870s and after, neo-Kantian liberalism had gone into quiet opposition, and began to experience a tension between Prussian triumphalism and the claims of a cosmopolitan, liberal culture. Nietzsche’s anti-political stance has its own origin here; his own polemical writings in the early 1870s, the Untimely Meditations, share to a remarkable degree the concerns and sensibility of contemporary disaffected neo-Kantian liberals.21 Interest in Kant was also on the rise
or practical interests, independent of his capacity to offer empirical evidence for such claims. After all, the posits of physics rest every bit as much on what we think. As he put it in BT, ‘I feel myself impelled to the metaphysical assumption that the truly existent primal unity . . . also needs the rapturous vision . . . for its continuous redemption’ (BT 4). This was not Nietzsche’s last word in his early philosophy of biology. ‘What we see of life is form; how we see it, as individuals.
upon reiﬁcation of the product of such constructive processes. But now, such theories are false not because of a contrast between phenomena and things-in-themselves, but because of a contrast between inferior (Newtonian) and superior (Boscovichian) empirical theories. The heart of Nietzsche’s naturalism is his commitment to the existence of two spaces and times. One pair is produced by the human intellect. The other pair is that space and time within which the human intellect is embedded. The
our cognitive capacities have evolved under conditions which select for the expedient falsiﬁcation, are completely independent of his metaphysical claims that the world is mind-dependent, or that the very idea of a mind-independent world is incoherent. The distinction between the falsiﬁed world and the notfalsiﬁed world should be made within the sphere of the mind-dependent.14 The sphere of the mind-independent is empty. One worry concerning the interpretation I have offered so far concerns the
‘experience’ must mean for Kant something more than animal consciousness, but something distinct from pure thought.11 The only way out of this dilemma is to regard experience as something more than sensation, involving conceptual resources not available to animals. Interpreting ‘experience’, awareness of empirical objects, as ‘thought with empirical content’ satisﬁes this condition. If this is correct, it follows that the premiss of the transcendental argument (i.e. that we have experience)