(2011) Nietzsche's Critique of the Layer-Cake Conception of Human Mindedness

James Conant


Lecture in Bergen 2011, Sep. 21. Early Nietzsche followed much of the philosophical tradition in presupposing a sharp dualism between our sentient and intellectual capacities. Later Nietzsche is often read as opposing such a dualism, but usually just by seeking to show that the latter capacities are really nothing more then etiolated and sublimated exercises of the former. Such a reading of Nietzsche takes him to accept the terms of the traditional dualism and then sees him as simply seeking to account for the phenomena traditionally ascribed to one of its poles in terms of the other. This paper argues that such a reading completely misses the depth at which Nietzsche's later critique of the traditional dualism is pitched. The real target of Nietzsche's later critique is a set of assumptions, deeply entrenched in the traditon and still prevalent today, about how to understand the relationship between animal mindedness and human mindedness.


philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; 20th century philosophy; Nietzsche Friedrich; nature; culture; dualism

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