Scholarly article on topic 'Philosophy as ‘Artwork:’ Revisiting Nietzsche's Idea of a ‘Philosophy’ from the Point of View of the ‘Artist’'

Philosophy as ‘Artwork:’ Revisiting Nietzsche's Idea of a ‘Philosophy’ from the Point of View of the ‘Artist’ Academic research paper on "Philosophy, ethics and religion"

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Abstract of research paper on Philosophy, ethics and religion, author of scientific article — Ştefan-Sebastian Maftei

Abstract The paper addresses an inquiry into Nietzsche's main corpus of works (the Kritische Studienausgabe) with a view to discover the major meanings of the term ‘philosophy’ as appearing throughout his early and his late philosophy. Our study will suggest that in his writings Nietzsche often relates philosophy to ‘artwork,’ while struggling to work out a relation between the philosopher's and the artists’ points of view. The study considers this analogy as relevant to Nietzsche's main attitude towards philosophy in general, starting from his earliest philosophical texts until his descriptions of his own philosophy in his late works.

Academic research paper on topic "Philosophy as ‘Artwork:’ Revisiting Nietzsche's Idea of a ‘Philosophy’ from the Point of View of the ‘Artist’"

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Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 71 (2013) 86 - 94

International Workshop on the Historiography of Philosophy: Representations and Cultural

Constructions 2012

Philosophy as 'artwork:' Revisiting Nietzsche's idea of a 'philosophy from the point of view of the 'artist'

§tefan-Sebastian Maftei*

_Babe§-Bolyai University, Str. M.Kogalniceanu 1, Cliij-Napoca, 400084, Romania_


The paper addresses an inquiry into Nietzsche's main corpus of works (the Kritische Studienausgabe) with a view to discover the major meanings of the term 'philosophy' as appearing throughout his early and his late philosophy. Our study will suggest that in his writings Nietzsche often relates philosophy to 'artwork/ while struggling to work out a relation between the philosopher's and the artists' points of view. The study considers this analogy as relevant to Nietzsche's main attitude towards philosophy in general, starting from his earliest philosophical texts until his descriptions of his own philosophy in his late works.

© 2013 Thb Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Selection ¡and peer-review under responsibility of Claudiu Mesaros (West University of Timisoara, Romania). Keywords: Philosophy; Nietzsche; artwork; aesthetic; artist.

1. Introduction: Nietzsche's "Philosophy" as persona

It is fairly known nowadays that Nietzsche viewed philosophy as a very personal and intimate experience [1]. Reading Nietzsche is not only a close encounter with Nietzsche's thinking; it is also a personal, private meeting with Nietzsche the man, with his personality, his temperament, his moods, his chagrins, his passions, his loves and his aversions. Nietzsche is also widely known for coining the expression "my philosophy" as one of his philosophical signatures. Shis might seem as just one of his many rhetorical strategies for 'personalizing or simply 'publicizing his own philosophy, by bringing more color into his philosophical writing. On one hand, it is, undeniably, just that. On the other, we might say that, by fashioning philosophy as his philosophy or as a new kind of 'style/ or, to use his own words, by fashioning "the most multifarious art of style that anyone has ever had at his disposal" [2], he is, sometimes even desperately, searching for a new way to define 'philosophy as

* Tel.: +40-264-40.53.00; fax: +40-264-40.53.26. E-mail address:

1877-0428 © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Selection and peer-review under responsibility of Claudiu Mesaros (West University of Timisoara, Romania). doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.01.012

such. Inspired by his fresh view on philosophy as 'style,' Nietzsche was also convinced that his writing was indeed his thinking, since he believed that "one thinks only in the linguistic form:"

"Fundamental solution: we believe in reason, but this is the philosophy of grey concepts; language is built in terms of the most naïve prejudices; now we read disharmonies and problems into things because we think only in the form of language (wir nur in der sprachlichen Form denken) — thus believing in the 'eternal truth' of 'reason' (e.g. subject, predicate, etc.); we cease thinking when we no longer want to think within the constraints of language, we just manage to reach the suspicion that there might be a boundary here" [3].

In this respect, philosophical thinking appears not as an activity in itself, independent of its medium of transmission or communication, or independent of the manner in which thinking is communicated, but as an elaborate linguistic and conceptual assembly: philosophy is often referred to as a "construction" (Bau) [1]. This conviction unlocks several possibilities: that there are as many philosophies, as there are philosophical writers; that, consequently, philosophy may be just the personal expression of an individual's thinking; that, ultimately, even one individual's philosophy can be just more than one single philosophy - there is always the possibility that one's intention of writing or speaking philosophy might create several philosophies: "Here, a philosophy is put into words - one of my several philosophies - which does not quite like to be named a 'love for knowledge/ probably out of pride, but may desire a more modest name, even a repulsive one, which in turn may contribute to the fact that it remains what it desires to be: a philosophy for myself - with the slogan: satis sunt mihi pauci, satis est unus, satis est nullus (a few are enough for me, nay, one is enough, or no one at all)" [1] (my translation). The complete quote, which appears in Seneca [4], Epistulae 7.11, addresses the particular relation of philosophy to its audience:

"Democritus said, unus mihi pro populo est et populus pro uno, one is to me a thousand, and a thousand as one. And well hath he spoke (whoever he was, for the author is not known) who to one that asked him, 'why he spent so much diligence in an art, which but few could be the better for?' replied satis sunt mihi pauci, satis est unus, satis est nullus, a few are enough for me, nay, one is enough, or no one at all. And more excellent is the third: when Epicurus was writing to one of his fellow-students, these things, says he, I write not to the many, but to you alone; satis enim magnum alteri theatrum sumus, for we are to each other a theatre large enough. These, my Lucilius, are the things which I would have you treasure up in your mind, that you may despise the vain pleasure, that accrues from the approbation of the world. Many praise thee: but are you satisfied with yourself, if you are what they take you for and applaud? Let your goodness be approved within." (Seneca, 1786: 21)

Nietzsche's quote from Seneca (which also quotes Democritus and Epicurus) debates chiefly the issue of the ideal audience of philosophy. Nietzsche, following Seneca, suggests that 'philosophy may act as a theatrical persona in a 'play' (theatrum) which can be addressed to few spectators or to one single spectator (the single reader or hearer of the philosophical text produced by the philosophical author, or the single spectator or participant to the philosophical debate or philosophical dialogue), or to no real spectator at all: philosophy can ultimately exist as a dialogue with your own self, as a form of meditation or confession. Probably this explains best the expression "my philosophy" that Nietzsche uses so frequently. Seneca's own discussion in his Epistles [4] provides answers to a particularly interesting set of philosophical questions, questions which have been raised and re-raised many times throughout the history of ancient philosophy, questions which emerge initially in the writings of the early Sophists and then reappear at the core of the Socratic dialogues: Is there an appropriate way of communicating philosophy? What is the ideal audience of a philosophical discourse (in text, speech or dialogue)? Is philosophy the best kind of communication? Alternately, this issue unfolds another set of mind-boggling questions: Is philosophy possible without it being communicated as such? Is philosophy autarkical, i.e. self-sufficient in its representation?

Thus, it is fair to say that Nietzsche's 'philosophy' acts as a persona throughout his work, capturing the many moments, moods, sides, and features of the author's thinking - it has been given many special roles, each of them encompassing Nietzsche's 'personal' philosophical worldviews at a certain point. Without overstating, we might say that "Philosophy" itself is one of Nietzsche's main philosophical personages. In the following, we will

discuss upon some of the major roles that Nietzsche's 'philosophy' will incarnate as one of Nietzsche's most prominent topics of discussion.

2. "PhUosophy" as life-style (politeia)

The Greek-English Lexicon of Liddell and Scott [5] defines the ancient Greek term politeia, as "government, citizenship, civil polity," also as "the life of a citizen," "one's daily life," or, generally, as "life, living." The Patristic Greek Lexicon of G. W. Lampe will enhance the moral meaning of the term by explaining it as "way of life," "of a community," as "conduct, behaviour, social or individual," or as "specifically Christian life and conduct," "ascetic practice," "act of religious betoviour" [6]. The Greek term politeia thus carries within itself the meaning of 'government' under an individual aspect, as 'self-government,' or as 'self-govemed life.' Later, the Greek Church fathers will use the expression Bios kai politeia ("Life and conduct," vita et conversation, lat.) in a fairly conventional manner, describing as "politeia" the "conduct," or the act of governing one's own life. For the life of an individual, politeia would positively mean 'life-style.' Philosophy as politeia (the act of governing one's own life, either living in a community, or not) was one of the basic meanings for the philosophical endeavour since the first steps of philosophia in the ancient Greek world. Alongside love of knowledge and wisdom, pursuit of the truth, speculation, investigation of truth and nature [5], philosophia would also mean the act of leading a well-balanced life, according to the principles of your teaching or doctrine. Actually, one of the meanings of the verb philosopheo is to "lead a well-regulated" life, a meaning present in the works of late pagan, as well as Christian writers [5]. The testimony of the deeds and teachings of Socrates in Plato's Apology (Ap. 28 e; 29 c-e; 30 b-c) is a powerful proof for the fact that Socrates saw philosophy as a constant struggle to be in accordance with the precepts of your own teachings. It is no accident that the title of Plato's most important moral and political work is Politeia (The Republic). In Republic 407 b-c, Socrates is explicitly explaining his craft as a teaching (mathesis) oriented towards the "caring for one's own self' (melete pros heauton), a craft which is set in contrast with the "excessive care for the body" (epimeleia tou somatos). Later, the Stoics and the other schools will embrace the same Socratic understanding of the term philosophia - to bring one's own life in accordance to your principles. Epictetus, in his Handbook [7], will explicitly use the phrase poiesan ten seautou, "improving yourself," or "creating yourself"

"How long do you put off thinking yourself worthy of the best things, and never going against the definitive capacity of reason? You have received the philosophical propositions that you ought to agree to and you have agreed with them. Then what sort of teacher are you still waiting for, that you put off improving yourself until he comes? You are not a boy any more, but already a full-grown man. If you neglect things and are lazy and are always making delay after delay and set one day after another as the day for paying attention to yourself, then without realizing it you will make no progress but will end up a non-philosopher all through life and death" [7].

Nietzsche will often refer to philosophy as a life-style (as the practical embodiment of philosophical thinking), or as a form of the "development of the self' (der Ausbildung seiner selbst) [1]. He was himself a vocational philosopher, he never taught philosophy at a university. He saw philosophy as a personal, spiritual endeavour, and he practiced it following the manner of the Greeks: as a tool for creating your own persona, as a personal, constant struggle to live in accordance to your own teachings, to master your own self. He was deeply influenced by Socrates, although he criticized the Socratic method countless times. He also kept the Stoics in very high regard. He knew Stoicism first-hand and he was an admirer of Epictetus' and Senecas' understanding of philosophy as an 'art of living,' which is regarded as a form of 'self-mastery:' "Honesty, supposing that this is our virtue from which we cannot get away, we free spirits—well, let us work on it with all our malice and love and not weary of 'perfecting' ourselves in our virtue, the only one left us. [...]" [8]. Nevertheless, Nietzsche's relation to Stoicism is not one of constant admiration. Especially in the On the Genealogy of Morals, he will attempt a transformation of Stoic concept of "self-maste^" or "self-creation," by giving a lot of impetus to the notion of "creation" within the Stoic notion of "self-creation" [8].

3. Philosophy as "History"

Nietzsche also suggests that philosophy is ultimately not just a personal, but also a historical and cultural endeavour, as the cultural and historical aspects really shape philosophy. In other words, philosophy is culture, heavily reliant on a certain context, and historical at its very core:

"How philosophy is done today. I have observed that our philosophising youths, women and artists of today want of philosophy precisely the opposite of that which the Greeks derived from it! He who does not hear the continual rejoicing which resounds through every speech and counter-speech of a Platonic dialogue, the rejoicing over the new invention of rational thinking, what does he understand of Plato, of the philosophy of antiquity? In those days, souls were filled with drunkenness at the rigorous and sober game of concept, generalization, refutation, limitation with that drunkenness which the great ancient rigorous and sober contrapuntal composers perhaps also knew. In those days there still lingered on the palate of the Greeks that other, more ancient and formerly all-powerful taste: and the new taste presented so magical a contrast to this that they sang and stammered of dialectics, the 'divine art', as though in a delirium of love. That ancient way, however, was thinking under the spell of custom, for which there was nothing but established judgments, established causes, and no other reasons than those of authority: so that thinking was an imitation and all pleasure in speech and language had to lie in the form. (Wherever the content is thought of as eternal and universally valid, there is only one great magic: that of changing form, that is to say of fashion (my emphasis). In their poets, too, from the time of Homer onwards, and later in their sculptors, what the Greeks enjoyed was not originality but its opposite.) It was Socrates who discovered the antithetical magic, that of cause and effect, of ground and consequence: and we modern men are so accustomed to and brought up in the necessity of logic that it lies on our palate as the normal taste (my emphasis) and, as such, cannot help being repugnant to the lustful and conceited' [9].

The fragment suggests not only that philosophy is a cultural and therefore historical matter, but also that the way in which we do philosophy today differs in taste from the ancient Socratic way of philosophizing. The thesis is also part of the Nietzschean well-too w attempt at debunking philosophies' false pretense of being immutable, self-justifiable theoretical worldviews. However, here Nietzsche launches another vitriolic attack: that philosophy, as well as any other cultural object, is determined in its methods and its results by a matter of taste and fashion, either common or subjective. This way, philosophy becomes 'aestheticized' to the point of being a matter of the palate, or a matter of subjective taste. This aspect will be discussed later.

Nietzsche's own attempt at explaining philosophy as a thinking occuring in time, as a philosophieren, is a lot different from Kant's own undertaking of explaining philosophy as a form of exercising thinking (philosophieren), or as the ultimate, critical form of self-reflection [10]. In Nietzsche's terms, philosophy seems relative altogether: it springs from the needs and the interests of individuals and communities at a certain point in history. Thus, Nietzsche will describe philosophy (starting from the Human, All too Human onwards) as a form of thinking occuring in time, but in a timely fashion. Sometimes, he will critically refer to the philosophy regarded as a "general form of History/' or as the putting into words of the Heraclitean "becoming:" "I can understand philosophy only as the most general form of history, as an attempt to somehow describe the Heraclitean becoming and to put it into signs (to quasi translate it into some kind of apparent Being and to mumify it)" [1] (my translation). This kind of philosophy does not comply with the image of philosophy advocated by Nietzsche's late works.

In sum, Nietzsche's general view on philosophy is by far a composite and shifting view, relying heavily on the development of his own philosophical worldviews. Nietzsche's term "philosophy" basically captures all the shades of his philosophical thinking: from the "goddess philosophy" [1] in his Vom Nutzen und Nachteil der Historie für das Leben to his early (and late) "Dionysian philosophy" [1], seen eventually as a manifestation of the "will to power" in his late notebooks [1], from to "tragic" philosophy of the Greeks in his Birth of Tragedy, opposed to the 'Socratic' kind of philosophy, to his philosophy of the "body," or his philosophy of the "Historian," or of the "Psychologist," or of the "Physiologist" in his Gay Science [11], we contemplate the many metamorphoses of a concept of philosophy, that Nietzsche will ultimately describe not only as a "love of wisdom," as a constant and relentless interrogation of the philosophy's own truths, presuppositions, concepts and theories, as an "art of mistrust" [1] agaimt my 'dogmatic' limitation coming from inside or from outside the realm of philosophy, to also as a love of 'life,' as a linguistic and conceptual expression of life in its entirety,

perceived not as a glorious Being, but as Dionysian Werden: "The affirmation of passing away and destruction that is crucial for a Dionysian philosophy, saying yes to opposition and war, becoming along with a radical rejection of the very concept of 'being.'[...] Philosophy as I have understood it and lived it so far is a life lived freely in ice and high mountains - visiting all the strange and questionable aspects of existence, everything banned by morality so far" [2].

4. Excurse: Lack of a unitary concept of philosophy

4.1. The trouble with 'ideology'

Nietzsche's own attempts at defining philosophy (beyond the limits of successfulness) allegedly emphasize an aspect of Nietzschean philosophy which has been constantly advocated by the supporters of a 'postmodern' Nietzsche (on the issue of Nietzsche's alleged 'postmodernism, see [12]): that the very lack of a stable concept of philosophy can be useful in defending the notion of philosophy, rather than eliminate it, since this lack of a concept defends 'philosophy' against ideologizing interpretations, as it has been similarly observed in the case of 'literature' (the argument appears in [13]). Is this true? Is philosophy really defending itself against the prospect of 'ideolo^' with the use of a certain air of untruthfulness? However, the next question in line could be: Is this not an ideologizing interpretation of philosophy as well? Is it not that "one person's misuse [of philosophy] is another person's use" [13]? We live, obviously, in an individualistic age which is so much obsessed with ideology. Is this obsession with ideologies and their rejection not an ideology as well?

Because cultural evaluations are continually being transformed, they are best dealt with via the category of 'ideology' (according to Terry Eagleton). But is this categorizing not ideological as well? Where is the 'truth-potential' beyond ideology which can be found in philosophy or art? The categorization of something as 'ideology' or 'misuse' could only be achieved form a 'truthful' position which is, supposedly, not itself merely another ideology. How can this be achieved? To say that something is untrue you have to have a justified concept of truthfulness. Otherwise, it could be a mere self-contradiction. Bringing this discussion to the subject of our analysis, we may say that, mfo^^tely, Nietzsche's philosophy does not appear to have (at least, until the Twilight of the Idols) a stable notion of truth (for a comprehensive analysis see [14]). Quite the contrary.

4.2. Philosophy as 'style'

One question has concerned many of Nietzsche's critics and defenders alike: is Nietzsche really an outsider to philosophy? Is he merely a literary figure that poses as a philosopher? Many of Nietzsche's appreciations of his own philosophy and of the philosophies of others seem to indicate just that. He is keen on emphasizing the language-based character of thinking. He often scorns philosophers who dedicate themselves to the notion of truth. He is famous for his rejection of the notion of 'truth' altogether. He sometimes characterizes his own philosophy as a self-proclrnmed 'style' [2]. Following Friedrich Schleiermacher's account on the notion of style, we know that "there can be no concept of a style" (quoted in [13]), because literary style refers to a discourse which is unique, inimitable, aesthetically significant, and immune to paraphrase [13]. Thus, literature is the only field where untruthfulness or illusion may serve as a shield against any 'ideology/ 'Style/ according to Schleiermacher, is an "indeterminate' notion, in the sense that its important attributes cannot be identified, i.e. subsumed under an already existing concept, because they are unique to a particular text. Consequently, in the case of a literary text, we might even encounter the "text's resistance to being clearly understood, despite its apparent meaningfulness" [13].

Thus, if we take Nietzsche's own texts to be literary texts, i.e. essentially works of art, then Nietzsche's texts cannot be reduced to any of the 'ideological' functions of a text. Here, we have a Nietzschean experiment with the philosophical text which really seeks to transfom the commonly used notion of 'philosophy.' In emphasizing

the 'style,' i.e. the linguistic character of philosophical thinking, or the literary nature of its texts, Nietzsche is really pushing the envelope: he will definitely situate itself willingly outside the framework of philosophical discursive thinking. Accordingly, Nietzsche's claim of a 'critique' of other philosophical positions in general does not stand, since if the Nietzschean text does not let itself be criticized (i.e. would not accept a critique by any more or less justifiable standard of truth), it cannot criticize other texts as well. One cannot criticize philosophy strictly non-philosophically. Ironically, this is the same kind of objection that Nietzsche raises against all theological thinking: that theologians seem to criticize philosophy by appealing to a non-justifiable standard of truth, which is, philosophically speaking, as good as having no standard of truth whatsoever. One more philosophical question thus arises from this situation: is it justifiable to criticize philosophy in a non-justifiable

Consequently, according to Bowie's explanation, Nietzsche's text has aesthetic autonomy, but not philosophical autonomy: "literature therefore becomes the realm of language which arises 'from its own sake' and which is not bound to representation" [13].

5. Philosophy as 'artwork'

She above mentioned critique of Nietzsche's notion of philosophy as literature illuminates the background of interpretation for Nietzsche's thesis about philosophy as 'artwork.' In seeing philosophy as a creative activity or as a work of art, Nietzsche struggles to show that philosophy is not a 'pure' conceptual activity, a scientific abstraction - although it is allegedly also perceived by Nietzsche as an activity in itself and for itself -, independent of its producer or of its medium of communication, but an elaborate linguistic assembly (Bau) [1]. This, however, raises serious questions about the nature of philosophy's autonomy, questions which are not answered by Nietzsche.

Generally, Nietzsche's idea of philosophy as 'artwork' would have several consequences: that there are as many philosophies, as there are philosophical writers; that philosophy, consequently, may be just the personal expression of an individual's thinking and nothing more; that, ultimately, even one individual's philosophy can be just more than one single philosophy - there is the possibility that one's intention of writing or speaking philosophy might create several philosophies. We have at least an analogy, if not a complete identification here between an artist's perspective and the 'new' philosopher's perspective upon things. "In all philosophy hitherto the artist is lacking (In der ganzen Philosophie bis heute fehlt der Kunstler)" [1;15]. So see philosophy from an artist's perspective is to observe the fact that every philosophy is an expression of the individual that created it. Shis new optic, Nietzsche suggests, would allegedly unleash the creative side of philosophical thinking, its transforming and renewing power over concepts, theories, worldviews. A philosophy contemplated from the point of view of the 'artist' would reach the status of a "philosophy of life," of a philosophy which is not "scientific" [1], but pluralistic and creative, truthfully reflecting the infinite transformations within the world of becoming.

In his endeavor, Nietzsche is not alone. He is backed up by a powerful philosophical and poetical tradition that starts with the Greek poets and playwrights and some Pre-platonic philosophers (Heraclitus, the Sophists). In the Greek mythical-philosophical accounts of the world, Nietzsche saw the common roots of art and philosophy:

"Knowledge isolates: the earlier philosophers represent in isolation what in Greek art is able to appear together. She content of art and of ancient philosophy is identical, but in philosophy we see the isolated elements of art being used to control the drive for knowledge. We ought to be able to demonstrate this in the case of the Italians, as well: individualism in life and art" [16].

His belief in the 'philosopher-artist' is clearly stirred up by the writings of the Pre-Socratic philosophers. However, some fragments from early 1873 clearly suggest that he is more inclined to see philosophy as identified with or really substituted by art, than to see the two in an analogy-relation:

"In order to create a religion one would have to awaken belief in the mythical edifice that one has constructed in a vacuum, which means that he would be satisfying an extraordinary need. Since the Critique of Pure Reason it is unlikely that this will ever happen again. On the other hand, I can imagine a wholly new sort of philosopher-artist who fills the void with a work of art, with one that has aesthetic value [...]" [16].

However, Nietzsche's early views on knowledge are firmly influenced also by the Romantic thinking and by Schopenhauer himself. Against the vein of the German Enlightenment, Nietzsche seems to support the view that the value of knowledge is established by belief, not by reason itself. Therefore, the standard of truth comes from outside reason, not from within. Nietzsche's view here is very similar to the view of authors, such as Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, a contempor^ and critic of Kant's transcendental philosophy:

"When it is a question, on the one hand, of the value of knowledge, whereas, on the other hand, a beautiful illusion, as long as one believes in it, has the same value as an item of knowledge, then one realizes that life requires illusions, that is, untruths that are held to be truths. It requires faith in the truth, but illusion is ultimately sufficient; that means that truths establish themselves not by means of logical proofs, but by means of their effects, proofs of strength. The true and the effective are held to be identical; here, too, one submits to force. How is one then to explain that logical proof of truth ever even occurred? In the struggle between 'truth' and 'truth' both seek an alliance with reflection. All true striving for truth came into the world through the struggle for a sacred conviction, through the pathos of struggle: otherwise human beings have no interest in its logical origin. [...] The pathos of truth is related to belief. [...] Truth is unknowable. Everything knowable semblance. Significance of art as truthful semblance' [16].

Some early posthumous fragments mention philosophy as a kind of 'aesthetic' appreciation of the world, based on an 'aesthetic' drive. Knowledge, even the scientific knowledge, cannot be proven by a scientific method. As well as in the case of Jacobi's theory of knowledge [17], reason itself cannot justify its own propositions, therefore is threatened by the prospect of nihilism In one of Nietzsche's early fragments, only art can save reason from itself:

"There is no distinct philosophy, separate from science: in both, the manner of thought is the same. The reason why unprovable philosophizing still has some value - more value, in fact, than many a scientific proposition - lies in the aesthetic value of such philosophizing, that is, in its beauty and sublimity. It continues to exist as a work of art even when it cannot prove itself as scientific construction. But isn't this the same in matters of science? In other words: it is not the pure drive for knowledge that is decisive, but rather the aesthetic drive: the inadequately proven philosophy of Heraclitus has far more artistic value than all the propositions of Aristotle. [...] Philosophy as the artistic drive in its pupal stage [...] Philosophy has no common denominator; at times it is science, at times art [...] Absolute knowledge leads to pessimism. Art is the remedy for this. Philosophy is indispensable for education because it draws knowledge into an artistic conception of the world, and thereby ennobles it" [16].

One of his early philosophical fragments explores extensively the relation between art and philosophy. Here Nietzsche recognizes the fact that philosophy can be seen as a "form of poetry," in the sense that "it knows, insofar as it poeticizes, and it poeticizes, insofar as it knows:"

"Great quandary: whether philosophy is an art or a science. In its aims and its results it is an art. But its means, conceptual representation, it shares with science. It is a form of poetic artistry [Dichtkunst]. - It cannot be categorized: consequently we must invent and characterize a species for it. The physiography of the philosopher. He arrives at knowledge by poeticizing and poeticizes by arriving at knowledge [Er erkennt, indem er dichtet, und dichtet, indem er erkennt]. He does not grow; I mean, philosophy does not follow the same course as the other sciences: even if some of the domains of philosophy gradually fall into the hands of science. Heraclitus never can be obsolete. It is poetry beyond the limits of experience, continuation of the mythic impulse; also essentially in images. Mathematical portrayal is not part of the philosopher's nature. Overcoming knowledge by means of the power to create myths [mythenbildende Kräfte]. Kant remarkable - knowledge and faith! Inherent kinship between philosophers and founders of religions' [16].

6. Conclusion

It is fairly clear by now that Nietzsche's concept of 'philosophy' endured various transformations throughout his work and that ultimately Nietzsche took great pains to work out a concept of 'philosophy' that was more appropriate to the Early German Romantic thinkers than to the German Enlightenment theories.

Several aspects need to be emphasized, though. First is that Nietzsche's view of truth and philosophy is not the same throughout his entire thinking and that, at a certain point, to the end of his career as a writer, he relinquishes his early nihilistic views on truth, by embracing a more stable position on the problem of truth (See [14]). Thus, our critique of Nietzsche's philosophy as 'style' will only work if Nietzsche rejects a stable notion of truth as related to his philosophical positions. I therefore consider Nietzsche's view on philosophy as 'style only as episodic to the development of Nietzsche's view on philosophy and not as a general tendency. Second, the relation between art and philosophy is also ambiguously reflected by his fragments, depending on the issue at stake: sometimes, he declares his philosophical writing as being no more than a literary 'style;' sometimes, he identifies the artistic drive fully with the impulse for philosophizing, by conceding that it has similar roots in the same general human drive for creativity; sometimes he sees art as a possible substitute to philosophy (as abstract knowledge) or as a solution to the crisis of philosophy (as science), science which is constantly threatened by the prospect of nihilism. Sometimes, it seems only that he tries to seek out an analogy between 'philosopher' and 'artist,' with a view to emphasizing the creative character of philosophical thought. Third, it is important to emphasize not only the limits, but also the virtues of this Nietzschean relation between 'art' and 'philosophy/ This vision of philosophy as an honest, solitary, and creative undertaking for the searching of an indescribable 'truth' which is beyond the limits of our abstract, scientific treatment of reason, opened new pathways for existentialist philosophers, who nourished on Nietesche's early notion of 'tragic,' existential truth of life. The indiscriminate treatment of philosophy as a literary 'style/ and the subsequent meditations on the linguistic nature of philosophical writing were a powerful incentive for XX-th century postmodernisms, from Lyotard to Derrida. Also, the equating of 'art' with 'philosophy' has proven enormously important to XX-th century aesthetics and to contemporary aesthetic thinking also, by establishing a higher position to aesthetic philosophical thinking in the contemporary order of philosophical fields of study. Seeing philosophy as a matter of 'taste,' or, better yet, seeing 'taste' as a criterion of philosophizing, however unorthodox this might appear to philosophical thinking, really gave the impetus for the development of new trends in aesthetic thinking, such as the "everyday aesthetics," which still rely heavily on a Nietzschean reworked concept of "everyday life" (See [18; 19;20]).


This work was supported by a grant of the Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research, CNCS -UEFISCDI, project number PN-II-ID-PCE-2011-3-1010.


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[2] Nietzsche, F. (2005). The Anti-Christ, Ecce Homo, Twilight of the Idols, and other writings. Trans. J. Norman. Cambridge UK: CUP, 2.4, III.9 Preface 3.

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