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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 84, Issue 2, Spring 2010

Friedrich Nietzsche

Holger Zaborowski
Pages 337-356

From Modesty to Dynamite, from Socrates to Dionysus
Friedrich Nietzsche on “Intellectual Honesty”

This paper examines Nietzsche’s philosophical self-understanding and focuses particularly on the concept of intellectual honesty. It discusses, first, the writings of his middle period, particularly Human, All Too Human, Daybreak, and The Gay Science, and analyses Nietzsche’s critique of religion, Christianity, and Western philosophy and science. In so doing, it introduces his (Socratic) emphasis on the role of modesty and intellectual honesty as a key to understanding his (early and) middle philosophy. The paper then moves on to show that and why his later philosophical works express less of a concern for intellectual honesty than his earlier works. It examines the radical (Dionysian) character of Nietzsche’s later philosophy and draws attention to the intrinsic paradoxes of his later thought. It thus discusses an important development in Nietzsche’s philosophy and dialectic within modern thought that deserves close attention if an adequate understanding of the course of modern thought is at stake.

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