Nietzsche and Schiller on Aesthetic Semblance

The Monist 102 (3):331-348 (2019)


Nietzsche consistently valorizes artistic falsehoods. On standard interpretations, this is because art provides deceptive yet salutary fictions that help us affirm life. This reading conflicts, however, with Nietzsche’s insistence that life-affirmation requires untrammeled honesty. I present an alternative interpretation which navigates the interpretive impasse. With special attention to the influence of Friedrich Schiller, the paper argues for three claims: (1) Nietzsche does not hold that art is false because it “beautifies,” but because it produces mere semblances of, its objects; (2) these semblances are essentially non-deceptive; (3) he values artistic illusions because they dispose us positively to illusion more generally. Such ‘evaluative reorientation,’ I argue, is not merely consistent with, but integral to, achieving Nietzsche’s ideal of honesty.

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Timothy Stoll
Birkbeck, University of London

References found in this work

Nietzsche on Morality.Brian Leiter - 2002/2014 - Routledge.
Nietzsche on Morality.Brian Leiter - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (3):729-740.

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Citations of this work

VI—Aesthetic Beautification.Andrew Huddleston - 2022 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 122 (2):119-139.
Nietzsche's Aesthetics.Andrew Huddleston - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (11):1-10.
Friedrich Nietzsche.Robert Wicks - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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