The Religious, the Secular, and the Natural Sciences: Nietzsche and the Death of God

The European Legacy 16 (6):785 - 797 (2011)
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Abstract

When, in The Gay Science, Nietzsche poses the question of how the natural sciences are possible, he insists that they depend not on a principle that is natural but on the will to truth, the will not to deceive even oneself, with which, he holds, ?we stand on moral ground.? Yet, that the natural sciences stand on ground that is moral also means, for Nietzsche, that their origin is to be located in ?a faith that is thousands of years old,? a faith that, in the Genealogy of Morals, he develops as presupposing what he calls the ascetic ideals of Judaism and Christianity. Further, in holding that the natural sciences have their origin in principles that are biblical, Nietzsche goes on to indicate that, like the natural sciences, his own critical position, unconditionally honest atheism, is, in forbidding itself ?the lie involved in belief in God,? not opposed to, but is rather an expression of, Judaism and Christianity's ascetic ideals. In addressing the interrelationships among the religious, the secular, and the natural sciences in light of Nietzsche, I argue that the natural sciences have their origin in principles that are not natural but that are no less religious than secular

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New Books. [REVIEW]A. R. I. - 1921 - Mind 30 (120):491-b-493.

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