Russell and Moore: The Analytical Heritage (review) [Book Review]

Journal of the History of Philosophy 11 (1):130-132 (1973)
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In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:130 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY To establish the chronology of the posthumous fragments of 1875-1879 in IV, 4 was of no crucial significance and presented few difficulties. The fragments of 18871888 in VIII, 2 are another matter. When Nietzsche's sister Elizabeth first published them she simply disregarded chronology in favor of a topical arrangement. Karl Schlechta proceeded more methodically. But in eliminating everything he felt Nietzsche had not intended to publish, he also withdrew from scrutiny much of Nietzsche's late thinking. What to do? The editors examined the manuscripts and hit upon a new and eminently sensible arrangement. In The Genealogy of Morals Nietzsche had mentioned that he was planning a philosophical treatise entitled Will to Power. An outline of 1888 bearing the same title organized 372 of the late aphorisms both by number and key-word. Although Nietzsche in a letter to Peter Gast clearly stated that this outline was not intended for publication, the editors determined to let it serve as their guide, in the justifiable assumption that here, nonetheless, was an arrangement that was truly Nietzsche's, one that came as close as one could come to arranging the fragments as Nietzsche himself might ultimately have done. As for the remaining 100-odd fragments in the pertinent notebooks, which Nietzsche had not included in his outline, the editors decided to include them also, since their chronology was easy to establish and they were of interest despite their unpolished and incomplete form. But does not such publication do Nietzsche a real injustice as Schleehta asserted? Are not the earlier selective editions superior? Although the editors obviously don't think so, they have given the reader the opportunity to draw his own conclusions. To this end, they have compiled a concordance relating Nietzsche's outline and their own edition with the other major editions of the late fragments, showing in each case which fragments were published and in what order. The last 140 pages of VIII, 2 present unpublished fragments of the same period containing quotations and excerpts which Nietzsche had taken from his readings. Although again the principle of completeness was no doubt paramount in the decision to include these fragments, the editors feel that the excerpts from Tolstoi and Dostoyevski throw new light on the genesis of the Antichrist. It is difficult in a few paragraphs to do justice to an edition containing thousands of pages. We have said nothing about the content or the attractive and functional format. We trust, however, that our limited comments have made it clear that this edition, whether in the original German or in the Italian, French, or Japanese translations, should be in every major library and in the hands of every Nietzsche scholar. It is to be hoped that the edition will soon be completed and that translations into English and Spanish will be undertaken also. HERBERT W. REICHERT University of North Carolina Russell and Moore: The Analytical Heritage. By A. J. Ayer. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1971. Pp. x+254. $8.75) It would be easy to take the view, on reading this book, that philosophical problems are never solved, people just tire of them. Ayer is at great pains to re-capture the sense of what philosophers in the earlier half of this century regarded as important issues, significant arguments and proper method. And indeed, he is so successful that one cannot help thinking from time to time that his book must have been written no later than the 1940's. Perhaps that was his intent--to relive the philosophical atmosphere BOOK REVIEWS 131 of pre-war English philosophy by recounting the views on logic and language, epistemology and metaphysics of the two major figures of that era. This is not mere recounting, nor would it be so successful a reliving if it were. Ayer offers his own counterarguments, and extensions of themes and theses propounded by Russell and Moore, but the curious thing is how of a piece these critical comments are with the expository passages. No doubt this is because Ayer is himself a relic of that age. This is not intended to be superior or sneering; in the spirit of the opening remark...



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