Value consciousness for Friedrich Nietzsche
Sasso, James Joseph, Jr
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My essential purpose in this dissertation was to explore the relationship of Nietzsche's views on consciousness to his general theory of valuation. In order to carry out this project it was necessary to elaborate the two principal modes of man's being in the world for Nietzsche, the Apollonian and the Dionysian, inasmuch as this distinction provides the cornerstone of his entire philosophy of value creation. The Apollonian represents the impulse toward discipline, structure, restraint, and order, while the Dionysian stands for the impulse toward ultimate self-abandonment, the urge toward direct participation in life's most intense passions. The key to producing genuine value, for Nietzsche, lies in reconciling these two divergent aspects of man's existence. This dualism was interpreted in terms of the states of mind, the modes of awareness, which they reflect so that his formula for value creation could be meaningfully translated into distinct forms of consciousness. Reflective, or self, consciousness was found to be normative of the Apollonian impulse and unreflected, or non-self, consciousness was found to be normative of the Dionysian. Correspondingly, both reflective and unreflected elements were found to participate in the condition which represents their eventual synthesis as well as Nietzsche's axiological ideal. I next presented Nietzsche's explicit treatment of mentalistic psychology, as expressed particularly in the Twilight of Idols. It was brought out that Nietzsche distrusts reflection and introspection, since he claims that they are full of what he calls "will-o'-the-wisps", because they suggest the existence of such phantom entities as a self, causality, freedom of the will, etc. Nietzsche wants to hold an epiphenomenal view of consciousness; he insists that consciousness is merely concomitant to physiological processes, which is where, he believes, actions originate. Nietzsche does not distrust sensation, however. "Reality" is defined as co-extensive with immediate experience. Introspection is therefore seen as artificial and obscuring, since in such moments, reflection becomes the 'primary reality for us; and this is just an abstraction and removal from that which Nietzsche considers to be metaphysically most real. Next I showed that this view is incompatible with his own theory of value creation. The distinguishing traits of the Apollonian life, self-conscious, responsible, and disciplined action, are all intimately connected with both his aesthetic and ethical ideals. Yet such an individualistic theory, which places such a premium upon deliberation and calculation, cannot be reconciled with a view which would deny the validity of reflection, free will, and the causal efficacy of consciousness. Furthermore, his epistemological emphasis upon immediate experience would entail the primacy and self-sufficiency of the unreflected (Dionysian) mode of consciousness, despite the fact that he claims that this form of awareness is only a necessary, and not a sufficient, condition of the realization of value. Finally, it was shown that Nietzsche's thought does exhibit a certain unity, even though it does not fit together logically at many points. He succeeds, in spite of his treatments of consciousness and value, in virtue of his existential attempt to realize and to express his own most distinct desires, needs, and potentialities in his works. And in this he represents the individual's effort to find meaning for his life in the midst of the alienating influences wrought by modern culture.
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