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Nietzsche on Kant and teleology in 1868: '"life" is something entirely dark...'

Gardner, S; (2019) Nietzsche on Kant and teleology in 1868: '"life" is something entirely dark...'. Inquiry , 62 (1) pp. 23-48. 10.1080/0020174X.2019.1527541. Green open access

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Abstract

We know from Nietzsche’s posthumously published notebooks and correspondence of his plan in 1868 to compose a doctoral dissertation in philosophy on the subject of teleology in nature and the concept of the organic, with reference to Kant. The bulk of my discussion represents an attempt to extrapolate from Nietzsche’s letters and preparatory notes the view he arrived at. Since the notes do not defend explicitly any single definitive thesis, their interpretation is unavoidably conjectural. I argue that, if Nietzsche’s remarks are considered with close reference to the philosophers who at that point dominated his horizons, namely Kant, Schopenhauer, and Lange, with Goethe also playing a key role, a plausible account can be given of the broad conclusions Nietzsche reached as a result of his early engagement with the problem of teleology. This outlook maintains the necessity and distinctiveness of philosophical reflection, but takes a skeptical view of its basis. In 1868 Nietzsche had no clear idea of how to proceed from this point, but in the end I propose, as others have done, that Nietzsche’s reflections on Kant and teleology helped to lay the ground for The Birth of Tragedy. In conclusion, I hypothesize that Nietzsche’s later philosophy involves no change of metaphilosophical standpoint.

Type: Article
Title: Nietzsche on Kant and teleology in 1868: '"life" is something entirely dark...'
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/0020174X.2019.1527541
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1080/0020174X.2019.1527541
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Goethe, Kant, Lange, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, teleology
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10057042
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