Nietzsches historische Philosophie
In the imaginary gallery of philosophical figures, Nietzsche is represented on several occasions. He is there both as a classicist of philosophical thinking and as a lonely, misunderstood outsider, as a systematic thinker and as an aphoristic writer. Nietzsche the founder of a religion stands alongside the abrasive critic of all conventional religion and thought. One is constantly confronted with the question of which, if any, is the authentic figure of Nietzsche´s thinking.
The present study does not postulate any new interpretation of Nietzsche´s philosophical deliberations but analyses their various self-statements, the emphasis, however, being on one in particular: At the beginning of Human All-too-Human, Nietzsche rejects 'metaphysical' philosophising in favor of a 'historical' one. He returns to this repeatedly and affirms it. There is no doubt that this self-statement provides an important key to an understanding of Nietzsche´s philosophy. And in fact any interpretation of the concept of historical philosophy, if pursued sufficiently carefully and sufficiently deeply, will come up with a number of characteristics which are common to those figures called Nietzsche.
With Nietzsche, historical philosophy means neither the history of philosophy nor the philosophy of history, unless it be history in the broadest and most comprehensive sense of the term. Nietzsche´s historical philosophy expressly draws on the becoming as its sphere of thought. The focal point is actually the becoming of the inner world, the internalisation and processing of experiences into new instruments for the interpretation of experience. The central idea behind historical philosophy is a historical investigation of the conditions for a human understanding of both the self and the world. These conditions are not interpreted as the forms of a pure, universal and constant structure of human reason but above all as the marks and monuments of those who emerged victorious from earlier conflicts over the issue of interpretation. Nietzsche´s texts are accounts of travels into this inner world – more or less common to us all – of historically shaped models of interpretation. It is no accident that lurking behind the 'metaphysical need' they also discover quite different needs; and in the ruins of metaphysical philosophy they discover the sometimes gruesome instruments of torture and sheer endless experimental fields which once enabled man to introduce ultimate truth, meaning and conceptual clarity into his world (and to immortalise this in an imaginary gallery of philosophical figures).