Nietzsche’s English Genealogy of Truthfulness

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Abstract
This paper aims to increase our understanding of the genealogical method by taking a developmental approach to Nietzsche’s genealogical methodology and reconstructing an early instance of it: Nietzsche’s genealogy of truthfulness in On Truth and Lie. Placing this essay against complementary remarks from his notebooks, I show that Nietzsche’s early use of the genealogical method concerns imagined situations before documented history, aims to reveal practical necessity before contingency, and focuses on vindication before it turns to subversion or problematization. I argue that we understand Nietzsche’s later critique of truthfulness better if we place it against the background of his earlier vindicatory insight into the practical necessity of cultivating truthfulness in some form; and I suggest that Nietzsche’s own mature genealogical method has roots in its supposed contrary, the method of the “English” genealogists.
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First archival date: 2019-03-07
Latest version: 4 (2019-03-27)
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2019-03-07

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