The History of Philosophy Reveals that "Great" Philosophy is Disgused Moral Advocacy: A Nietzschean Case Against the Socratic Canon in Philosophy

Marcel van Ackern (ed.), Proceedings of the British Academy 214: Philosophy and the Historical Perspective (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), pp. 185-199.

21 Pages Posted:

Date Written: May 31, 2018

Abstract

Instrumentalists think the history of philosophy is as relevant to philosophy as the history of physics is to physics: if past philosophical or physical theories are true, or help us get to the truth, then we should know about them, otherwise not. Skeptical instrumentalists think history fails on these counts, optimistic instrumentalists think it does not. By contrast “anti-philosophical” instrumentalists—like Marx, Nietszche, and Wittgenstein—are not simply skeptics, because the skeptics still believe there is something for philosophy to do, some knowledge it can produce, some truths it can reveal. The anti-philosophical philosophers think we should give up philosophy as traditionally conceived: the real lesson from the history of philosophy is that philosophy is “garbage,” or, as Nietzsche thought, disguised moral advocacy. For Nietzsche, this is the real lesson of the history of philosophy.

Keywords: Nietzsche, Carnap, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Quine, Socrates

Suggested Citation

Leiter, Brian, The History of Philosophy Reveals that "Great" Philosophy is Disgused Moral Advocacy: A Nietzschean Case Against the Socratic Canon in Philosophy (May 31, 2018). Marcel van Ackern (ed.), Proceedings of the British Academy 214: Philosophy and the Historical Perspective (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), pp. 185-199.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=

Brian Leiter (Contact Author)

University of Chicago ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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