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5 - Nietzsche’s Scientific Community

Elective Affinities

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 September 2014

Julian Young
Affiliation:
Wake Forest University, North Carolina
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Summary

This chapter discusses the issue from a slightly different angle, asking whether the values Nietzsche found exemplified in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's work can help to explain not just Nietzsche's affinity for one or another scientist considered in isolation, but the variety and at the same time the selectivity of Nietzsche's interests in scientific thinkers and their theories. The chapter clarifies what Goethe contributes to that critique. Nietzsche's contemporary science has adopted a moral rule "fiat veritas, pereat vita" to which everything else, including instincts, preferences, pleasure, and self-regard, is subordinate. In presenting the results of their respective investigations, Galton and Goethe differ in their methods of arriving at their representation of the archetype and perhaps more importantly in their criteria for a successful representation of it. The model for the powerful form of insight is established in the "polyphonic" subjectivity evident in Goethe's representation of the natural world.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2014

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