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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 84, Issue 2, Spring 2010

Friedrich Nietzsche

Chad Engelland
Pages 413-426

Teleology, Purpose, and Power in Nietzsche

Nietzsche subjects traditional philosophical causality to a skeptical critique. With the moderns, he rejects form as superficial. Against the moderns, he finds physical laws and their ground in a free consciousness equally superficial, and he thinks that the principle of utility is ultimately life denying. However, Nietzsche is not a skeptic, and he has his own doctrine of causality centered on the noble power of the philosopher. The philosopher has the ability to impose new purposes, and this power is the culmination of nature and history. The philosopher believes himself to be a kind of exemplar cause, the consummation of the whole. His is not an instrumental good but one sought for its own sake.

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