Chapter

Truth, Survival, and Power

Peter Poellner

in Nietzsche and Metaphysics

Published in print April 2000 | ISBN: 9780198250630
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598258 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198250630.003.0004

Series: Oxford Philosophical Monographs

 Truth, Survival, and Power

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In contrast with views that attribute the biological utility of beliefs to their truth, Nietzsche maintains that their relative utility renders them proportionately more likely to be idiosyncratic expressions of species‐relative concerns. Nietzsche's sceptical ‘argument from utility’—the inference from the practical utility of beliefs to the improbability of their being metaphysically true—is examined and rejected. It is argued that Nietzsche is an early proponent of naturalized epistemology. His objections to the ‘best explanation’ defence of metaphysical realism are discussed. It emerges that the ‘evolutionary’ strand of thought is incompatible with his other sceptical arguments. The chapter pursues Nietzsche's doctrine that the ‘ruling drives’ representing the dominant manifestation of the will to power in an individual determine the standards for validation, evidence, and truth. The discussion proceeds to an examination of Nietzsche's remarks that the external world is created in a manner depending on the specific form of the will to power instantiated by the empirical subject.

Keywords: evidence; evolutionary epistemology; naturalized epistemology; realism; will to power

Chapter.  26032 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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