Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 August 2012
Part One consists of five chapters that set out the basic framework we propose for understanding the “narrative line” of BGE and how it could count as Nietzsche’s masterpiece.
Chapter 1 contains a detailed account of BGE’s preface, arguing that it shows the book to be much more like a philosophical treatise than is usually supposed. Readers are kept from appreciating this similarity because of the ways in which Nietzsche’s book differs from the typical philosophical treatise (other than the sheer brilliance of its writing). In particular, like Plato, Nietzsche is not interested in laying out the entire content for his best readers; to get at this content, they have to work it out for themselves. Accordingly, although the preface offers us a relatively straightforward narrative of the history of philosophy as a basis for understanding the aims of the book, it provides only the bare outlines of this story, and it papers over obvious holes in the narrative with references, images, and metaphors that it does not clarify. Our hypothesis is that BGE One is designed to fill in the bare outline of the story offered in its preface, if we know what to look for in it. And the best way to know what to look for is to recognize the gaps in our understanding of it and, particularly, of its metaphors.