Review of Michael S. Green, NIETZSCHE AND THE TRANSCENDENTAL TRADITION [Book Review]

Philosophical Review 113 (2):275-278 (2004)
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Abstract

Given the ascribed antinaturalist theory of judgment, Green’s Nietzsche cannot stop with the error theory. “Kant and Spir argue that the only way an objectively valid judgment about an object is possible is if the qualities attributed to the object are unconditionally united in the mind, that is, united in an atemporal and necessary manner”. Thoughts, and the subjects that have them, must be timeless. There must also be a “necessary connection between thought and its object”. Reality, on the other hand, isn’t timeless: there is change, or becoming—this is Nietzsche’s naturalism. Thus, the connection between thoughts and reality fails, there is no timeless subject to have thoughts, and so: “We do not think”. It follows that there are no thoughts to be false—no error theory—and naturalism itself “cannot be thought”. Green calls this Nietzsche’s “noncognitivism” and concludes that the contradictions between Nietzsche’s naturalism, error theory, and noncognitivism mean that he “did not have one considered epistemological position” —a rather mild way of putting it.

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