Date of Award

5-1-2012

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Tyman, Stephen

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to elaborate a non-metaphysical interpretation of Friedrich Nietzsche's works that brings his philosophy "down to earth" as I believe it was intended, and to explore questions in Schelling's philosophy. In chapter one, I address the tension that arises from Nietzsche's rejection of traditional conceptions of truth, and the positing of his own truths. I explain my view of his major doctrines as useful fictions, and take them as a response to, and rejection of, Western metaphysics. I argue that these ideas can still be taken seriously even if not regarded as objective truths about the nature of the world. In chapter two I explore the seemingly inherent drive that humans have to "escape" modern conveniences and retreat into the wilderness, and how this drive parallels our desire for an authentic experience. I see social institutions like language, the self, families, etc. as analogous to "real" technologies and artifacts such as computers and cell phones, in that they distort and separate us from reality. Just as we can leave behind our cell phones and computers in order to connect with nature, the inherited concepts and institutions that mediate our experience can also be left behind so we can have an authentic experience of the world. An epistemological conflict exists between the individual and the social institutions she is a part of which makes this sort of expedition difficult. To balance out the grounded, atheistic feel of Nietzsche's philosophy, in chapter three I present an interpretation of Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling's philosophy that investigates the question of freedom and necessity.

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