From Nietzsche’s Philosophy of History to Kant’s—and Back

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Abstract

Reflecting on Anthony Jensen's Nietzsche's Philosophy of History, this essay describes Jensen's account of the three-stage development of Nietzsche's historiographical practices and metahistorical positions: from his early philological writings, through The Birth of Tragedy, and into the mature philosophy of history that Jensen uncovers in Toward the Genealogy of Morality and Ecce Homo, which, so Jensen argues, consists in ontological realism combined with representational anti-realism. While Jensen notes the importance of a like-minded readership for the success of Nietzsche's historiographical projects, the essay asks whether Nietzsche did in fact have such a readership and further emphasizes that the Genealogy and Ecce Homo are structured in such a way that they seek to create one. A similar structure is identified in Kant's “Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Perspective.” The essay concludes by reflecting on the significance of this similarity in light of the doctrines of eternal recurrence that are expressed in both Nietzsche's late writings and Kant's youthful cosmology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-286
JournalHistory and Theory
Volume54
StatePublished - 2015

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