In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff

We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.

Try Advanced Search

  1. Seattle Squeeze: New Urban Living
  2. Checking In
  3. Ben Aronson's Representational Abstractions
  4. Rock is ... Forever?
  5. We Need the Arts: A Sob Story
  6. Form Following (Commercial) Function
  7. Two Humorous Items from the Financial Crisis
  8. Ken Auster of the Kute Kaptions
  9. What Might Representational Painters Paint?
  10. In The Times ...

Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette

Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Joanne Jacobs
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes

Redwood Dragon
The Invisible Hand
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz


Our Last 50 Referrers

« New Classicists | Main | Free Reads -- Pygmy Negritos »

September 11, 2002



I haven't spent a whole lot of time on Nietzsche lately myself, although from time to time I have pondered how his writings, bursting with contempt for late 19th century socialism, could have been hijacked by the left.


As best I can tell, without making an extensive study of post-modern thought (for which I will never, ever have time or interest) post-modernists were enraptured when they read that Nietzsche denied the "objectivity" of human thought and pointed out the primacy of the "will to power"--and then just took the bit between their teeth and galloped off to pursue their left-wing agendas, feeling empowered to say or do anything in their pursuit of power--oops, I meant to say, in their pursuit of perfect social justice for the oppressed and equality between the sexes.

Nietzsche, on the other hand, as best I can tell, was attempting to treat logic, morality, etc., from an evolutionary (biological) point of view. In other words, Nietzsche was opposed to the ahistorical, acultural idealism of German philosophy of his day, e.g., Kant, who segregated mental processes into a priori ideas (that provide an "organizational context" for experience, such as 3-dimensional space, time, etc.) on the one hand and concepts derived from experience on the other, thus raising the a priori ideas far above any historical or cultural context.

In other words, Nietzsche is saying that we use all ideas (a priori as well as experiential) because they are useful, and will use other ones when the current set become useless--not because a particular set of ideas are, in some Platonic/metaphysical sense, true now and true always, as the idealists keep trying to suggest.

I think Nietzsche would have been very amused at the way relativity and quantum mechanics have "blown up" many of the concepts that Kant (man of the 18th century that he was) assumed lived safely in the pristine, crystaline world of the a priori.

None of this is to say, however, that Nietzsche considered himself or the concept of "usefulness" as above mere "facts," and especially not above inconvenient facts. In his Darwinian world, vital new thought had to pass the test of usefulness--it really had to "work" (e.g., using structural mechanics to design bridges that have stood for centuries) or it would be found out and rejected by power-seeking humanity, (e.g. Marxism-Leninism.)


I think he would have had the greatest scorn for the post-modernists and their sloppy thoughts, which appear to have all the long term usefulness of schemes developed by con men. Maybe I'm wrong, but I place Nietzsche in the whole current of modern evolutionary thought along with Darwin, Hayek, and sociobiology.

Cheers, of a "Joyful Science" sort,


posted by Friedrich at September 11, 2002


My thoughts exactly. Also Daniel Dennett's. According to this website
Daniel Dennett regards Nietzsche as the 'second sociobiologist' (Hobbes was first)

Posted by: Jason Soon on September 18, 2002 6:54 AM

Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember your info?