Nietzsche’s aesthetic conception of philosophy a (post-kantian) interpretation of the gay science §373

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The article considers Nietzsche’s conception of philosophy by giving a careful interpretation of aphorism 373 of book V of The Gay Science. In this important aphorism, Nietzsche puts forward the idea that all genuine philosophical judgments are akin to a judgment about “the value of a piece of music,” and hence akin to judgments that express “what good taste demands” (GS 373). The article takes this to mean that, for Nietzsche, philosophical judgments are value-judgments, and value-judgments are aesthetic judgments (or judgments of taste). On this basis, the article then tries to take two further steps: first, to show that Nietzsche understands aesthetic judgments by the lights of Kant’s conception of taste as a “reflective taste” (CJ 8), thereby conceiving of aesthetic value-judgments as reflective judgments; second, the article argues that Nietzsche’s view of philosophical judgments as reflective value-judgments is the basis of his rejection of a positivist (or, in modern vocabulary, naturalist) conception of philosophy. Finally, the article links Nietzsche’s conception of philosophy to his conception of life as akin to music, and thus as having a polysemic, perspectival, and interrogative nature (or the “character of a question-mark”, GS 375).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNietzsche’s Metaphilosophy
Subtitle of host publicationThe Nature, Method, and Aims of Philosophy
EditorsPaul S. Loeb, Matthew Meyer
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781108381338
ISBN (Print)9781108422253
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2019


  • Aesthetic judgments
  • Kant
  • Naturalism
  • Nietzsche
  • Nihilism
  • Perspectivism
  • Positivism
  • Reflective judgments
  • Taste
  • Value judgments


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