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Nietzsches Post-Positivism

Maudemarie Clark and David Dudrick

As Nadeem Hussain tells us, Nietzsche has been interpreted recently as similar in many ways to contemporary naturalists (Hussain 2004: 326).1 This interpretation makes Nietzsche in effect a post-positivist, an empiricist and naturalist who had learned, long before Quine, to dispense with the various dogmas that often accompany these positions (cf. Quine 1961). Hussain resists this interpretation because of Nietzsches apparent commitment to the thesis that knowledge falsifies reality. Maudemarie Clark has argued at length that this falsification thesis, which has inspired much postmodernist rejection of science and truth, is found in Nietzsches early works but is abandoned in his later and greater ones (Clark 1990). Hussain therefore seeks to undermine Clarks account of Nietzsches development. Focusing on the passage that Clark takes to be the crucial one for understanding Nietzsches ultimate rejection of the falsification thesis, he argues that her account of the passage is problematic in several ways, not the least of which is that Nietzsches historical context makes it seem implausible. Interpreting it instead as expressing Nietzsches commitment to Machian positivism offers us a more historically accurate and philosophically satisfactory interpretation of the passage, he thinks, and it also explains how later Nietzsche could have accepted the falsification thesis while at the same time praising science and dismissing the thing-in-itself as incoherent. Although we applaud Hussains close attention to the details of Nietzsches argument and the contemporary sources on which he drew, we remain unconvinced by his case for interpreting Nietzsche as a Machian who remained committed to the falsification thesis. Hussain does pinpoint important problems for Clarks account of Nietzsches development, but we will argue that he draws the wrong conclusion from them. We contend that the problems can be fixed, and that attention to the contemporary sources for Nietzsches thought actually helps to provide an improved defense of Clarks thesis that Nietzsche abandoned his commitment to the falsification thesis. Although Hussain understates a crucial component of Clarks developmental story (her stress on the subjective idealism presupposed by Nietzsches original commitment to the falsification thesis), his account of Clarks 1990 interpretation is basically accurate. Nietzsche originally held that knowledge falsifies because he believed that all knowledge is empirical and he accepted the Kantian position that empirical knowledge does not correspond to things as they are in themselves. When he came to reject the whole idea of the thing-in-itself as incoherent, he therefore had reason to reject the falsification thesis. And we have reason to believe that he did precisely that because we find no evidence of a
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commitment to that thesis in any of his last six books, those written after Beyond Good and Evil (Nietzsche 1886, henceforth BGE). The main problem for Clarks story of Nietzsches development is that she thinks he continued to accept the falsification thesis in BGE, the same book in which he dismisses the whole idea of the thing-in-itself.2 Clark attempts to explain how Nietzsche could have gotten himself into this intolerable situation by suggesting that he now believed he could infer the falsification thesis from a naturalized version of Kants theory of knowledge and therefore did not need the thing-in-itself for this purpose (Clark 1990: 121). He took reality to be the chaos of sensations that is falsified by the a priori elements that our organization imposes on it. In Clarks story, BGE 15 is the turning point in Nietzsches development because it offers an argument against identifying reality with the chaos of sensations. Thereafter Nietzsche had no basis for the falsification thesis because he no longer posited a reality that could be seen as falsified by our knowledge claims, and this explains why it plays no role in the six works that come after BGE.

1. Beyond Good and Evil and the Falsification Thesis Hussains first objection to Clarks account of Nietzsches development is that it is implausible to suppose that Nietzsche understood the argument of BGE 15 as Clark claimsi.e., in a way that undermines the falsification thesisgiven that, as she also claims, he remains committed to that thesis in BGE (Hussain 2004: 327, 330). We concede this objection to Clarks account, but point out that she can respond to it by abandoning her claim that BGE retains Nietzsches earlier view that knowledge falsifies. In fact, Clark proposes precisely this solution in a paper that Hussain cites but does not discuss (Clark 1998b).3 She explains the textual basis for this solution in a forthcoming paper (Clark 2005), and we will briefly summarize it here. BGEs two problematic passages for those who believe that Nietzsche overcame the falsification thesis are 4 and 11, for they apparently claim that logic, mathematics, and synthetic a priori judgments all introduce falsification into thought and yet are indispensable for it, thereby implying that all thought falsifies. But we find reason to doubt that this is the correct interpretation of these passages if we pay sufficient attention to their context. At the beginning of BGE 4, Nietzsche says that falsity is to us not necessarily an objection to a judgment; it is here that our new language may perhaps sound strangest. This seems to come out of the blue. What new language is he talking about? Where else is he speaking it? Nothing in the surrounding text seems to explain these matters. But that is an illusion. As always, when reading Nietzsche, and especially BGE, we should remember his request in the preface to the new edition of Daybreak, written just after he finished BGE, that we learn to read [him] well, that is, to read slowly, deeply, looking cautiously before and aft, with reservations, with doors left open, with delicate eyes and fingers (Nietzsche 1997 [1886]: 5).
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To follow this request in the case of BGE 4, we should consider its claims about the falsification involved in logic and mathematics as made in the context of Nietzsches suggestion that he is speaking a new language in which falsity is not necessarily an objection to a judgment. We should also consider the three sentences that immediately precede this suggestion. Behind all logic and its seeming sovereignty of movement stand evaluations. . . . For example, that the definite should be worth more than the indefinite, and illusion [Schein] worth less than truth: such valuations might be, in spite of all their regulative importance for us, mere foreground appraisals, a particular type of niaisierie, precisely what may be necessary for the preservation of beings like us. Supposing, that is, that not just man is the measure of things. . . (BGE 3) The final sentence indicates that the passages earlier claimthat the evaluations standing behind logic might be mere foreground appraisals or a kind of folly or stupiditypresupposes that man is not the sole measure of things. But does Nietzsche accept that presupposition? The formulation of the final sentence and the ellipsis in which it ends are surely designed to raise that question for any serious reader. Although we cannot argue this here, it seems plausible that Nietzsche denies this precisely in the sense that is relevant to the passage. That is, he denies that there is some measure beyond human beings to which our cognitive norms (or our moral norms, but that is a different issue), certainly including those of logic, are answerable. This is one of the main claims of BGE. When he suggests that the evaluations standing behind logic might be mere foreground appraisals or a kind of folly or stupidity, he is therefore speaking a new language, one in which these words have a different meaning than they do in his (and our) normal language. This is why he warns us in the very next line, the opening sentence of BGE 4, that falsity is not necessarily an objection to a judgment; it is here that our new language may perhaps sound strangest. This new language is a matter of talking as if there is some measure of things beyond us, something to which our cognitive norms are intended to measure up. This is how we should understand the claim of BGE 4 concerning the fictions of logic and the purely invented world of the unconditional and self-identical. Nietzsche is here speaking as if not just man is the measure of things. If we presuppose that there is some outside standard to which the basic norms of logic are supposed to measure up, then we should consider them false, for they do not measure up to any such standard. But when Nietzsche is not presupposing something he takes to be false, it makes no sense for him to say that logic is a fiction or that it falsifies. Indeed, except for BGE 11, of which a similar analysis can be given, there is no further evidence of such a view of logic in the rest of BGE, or in any later book (Clark 1990: 1045; cf. Clark 2005), and no reason to think it plays a part in the important arguments of BGE. And, as we will see and as Hussain certainly agrees, BGE contains other passages in which
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Nietzsches meaning does not become clear without a lot of hard thinking about the rhetorical features and the structure of the argument. 2. The Argument of Beyond Good and Evil 15 We turn now to the heart of Hussains case against Clarks developmental thesis and in favor of interpreting Nietzsche as a Machian.4 Recall that, according to Clark, BGE 15 is the turning point in Nietzsches development, that it exhibits his grounds for abandoning the falsification thesis. Hussain finds it implausible, given the contemporary philosophers Nietzsche was reading, that his argument in BGE 15 is the one Clark claims to find in it. He argues that Nietzsches historical context suggests that his argument is actually a quite different one in favor of Machian positivism or sensualism, and that this interpretation offers a satisfactory explanation for several striking features of the passage that Clarks interpretation leaves unexplained. We will focus on Hussains discussion of the first half of the argument of BGE 15, which we divide below into segments A and B. [A] To do physiology with a clear conscience, one must insist that the sense organs are not phenomena in the sense of idealistic philosophy; as such they could not be causes! [B] Sensualism, therefore, at least as a regulative hypothesis, if not as a heuristic principle. Hussains most important objection to Clarks account of the passage is that it leaves segment B unexplained. Clark never mentions that Nietzsche is evidently arguing for sensualism in the passage or that, as Hussain claims, he seems to endorse sensualism on the basis of segment A of the argument. This is an important objection. Without an account of how Nietzsche thinks he can get from A to B, how can one be sure of the interpretation of A? After all, it should be a constraint on the interpretation of A precisely that it allow one to conclude to B. Although Clark does not explain the logic of the move from A to B, we suggest that she could have explained it in a way that coheres well with the rest of her interpretation as follows. 1. If one is to pursue physiology with a good conscience, then one must accept the findings of physiology. (premise) 2. Among the findings of physiology is that the sense organs are causes, i.e., are causal conditions of knowledge. (premise) 3. Therefore, if one is to pursue physiology with a good conscience, then one must accept that the sense organs are causal conditions of knowledge. (1, 2) 4. If one accepts that sense organs are phenomena in the sense of idealistic philosophy, then one must deny that the sense organs are causal conditions of knowledge. (premise)
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5. Therefore, if one is to pursue physiology with a good conscience, then one must deny that the sense organs are phenomena in the sense of idealistic philosophy. (3, 4) 6. Sensualism is the claim that the sense organs are causal conditions of human knowledge. (definition) 7. If one is to pursue physiology with a good conscience, then one must accept sensualism. (3, 6) This makes explicit how Nietzsche can validly conclude to sensualism from segment A (steps 15), given Clarks reading of segment A. Clark reads A straightforwardly: Nietzsche is committed to pursuing physiology with a good conscience and so he concludes that the sense organs are not mere phenomena, but are causes. Our rendering of the argument makes clear that the point of this is that the senses are causal conditions of knowledge, and that this is precisely what sensualism is. This still leaves a number of things unclear, however, for instance, what it means to pursue physiology with a good conscience, why sensualism is taken as a regulative hypothesis, and the role of the rejection of idealism in the argument (steps 4 and 5 seem superfluous). We will return to these matters after we consider why Hussain would reject our view of the arguments structure. 3. Sensualism as Empiricism Hussain agrees, indeed insists, that Nietzsche is committed to sensualism, thus that segment B endorses sensualism in Nietzsches own voice. He denies, however, that Nietzsche understands sensualism in the way we define it in step 6. Whereas we take sensualism to be a claim about the role of senses in knowledge, he takes it to be a claim about the world of which we have knowledge. He reads the doctrine Nietzsche endorses in segment B as Machian positivism or sensualism, which is clearly an ontological doctrine according to which the world consists of sensations (Hussain 2004: 354, 345). Machand, by Hussains lights, Nietzsche in BGE 15endorses neutral monism (Hussain 2004: 348) on which sensations are better called elements, to emphasize that these elements are not to be understood as belonging to some particular self . . . and because they are the most basic building blockselementsof the world (Hussain 2004: 345). Why does Hussain reject an epistemological reading of Nietzsches sensualism? He considers it an obvious interpretation . . . that sensualism refers to the epistemic claim that all knowledge comes from the senses, but he just does not see how it could be a presupposition of doing physiology with a good conscience that there are no other sources of knowledge, say, a priori ones, nor how it could be a result of physiology that the senses give us knowledge. Physiology has to take the senses as causes since according to such accounts the sense organs were part of a causal process leading from external stimuli to sensations within us. But how does it follow from this that the sensations give us knowledge? (Hussain 2004: 336). The problem, then, is that on our definition of it, Hussain does not see how sensualism could be entailed or presupposed by
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physiology. He therefore does not see what grounds Nietzsche could have for affirming the truth of our step 2 (that physiology shows us that the senses are causal conditions of knowledge, i.e., that they are necessary for knowledge). Although our definition of sensualism in step 6 makes it possible for Nietzsche to get validly to his conclusion from step 2, it therefore also makes it difficult to see how he could have thought he had a sound argument for that conclusion. We can begin to answer Hussain on this point, and to clarify the matters left unexplained by how we have laid out the argument, if we consult BGE 14 for help in understanding BGE 15. Hussain quotes its opening suggestion that physics too is only an interpretation and arrangement of the world, but that it is and must for a long time to come be regarded as more, namely, as a worldexplanation, insofar as it is based on belief in the senses (BGE 14; Hussain 2004: 326). But Hussain fails to consider how this belief in the senses is related to the sensualism of BGE 15. Surely it is relevant to the interpretation of the latter that BGE 14 tells us that basing physics on belief in the senses makes it fascinating, persuasive, and convincing [to] an age with fundamentally plebian tastes [because] it follows the instinctive canon of eternally popular sensualism. What is clear, what explains? Only what can be seen and feltthis is as far as one must pursue any problem. (BGE 14) Is this the same sensualism that Nietzsche endorses in BGE 15? On the one hand, he suggests that it isnt by linking it to what he takes to be the erroneous view that physics is a world-explanation and by disparaging it in comparison to the Platonic way of thinking, which was a noble way of thinking, [and] consisted precisely in resistance to obvious sense-evidence (BGE 14). On the other hand, however, consider the final sentence of BGE 14: Where man cannot find anything to see or to grasp, he has no further businessthis is certainly an imperative different from the Platonic one, but for a tough, industrious race of engineers [Maschinisten] and bridgebuilders of the future, it may be precisely the right imperative. (BGE 14) Given the parallel to the subtitle of BGE, Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future, one must assume that Nietzsche places himself among (probably at the head of) the engineers and bridge-builders of the future, i.e., those who are planning and building the means to the future. He is saying, then, that the imperative in question may be precisely the right imperative for him. But isnt this imperative precisely the eternally popular sensualism he disparaged earlier in the passage? Compare 1) What is clear, what explains? Only what can be seen and feltthis is as far as one must pursue any problem and 2) Where man cannot find anything to see or to grasp, he has no further business. The two formulations are very close, both telling us that all we need for knowledge is empirical evidence. The only difference is that the first, but not the second, takes empirical evidence to explain . The obvious way to interpret this differencegiven Nietzsches apparent commitment to empiricism in the
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passage combined with his disparagement of the eternally popular versionis that the latter assumes that views based on the evidence of the senses give us an ultimate explanation, one that goes beyond the kind of explanation a good Humean empiricist would be willing to give. That would be an explanation that is more than a higher-level description, one that shows that the way the world is has what Kant calls unconditioned necessity (which is precisely what would make it a world-explanation). On the second characterization of sensualism, it tells us simply that after we have provided the empirical evidence for a doctrine of physics, say, there is no more theoretical work to do. Not because we now know why the world has to be the way it is, but because the way we gain knowledge of the world is through the senses. This is the sensualism that BGE 14 implies may be precisely the right imperative for Nietzscheeternally popular sensualism, but stripped of its assumption that empirical theories offer more than higher-level descriptions. It also appears to be the doctrine of sensualism we have already attributed to Nietzsche to make sense of the logic of BGE 15, namely, the claim that the senses are causally necessary for knowledge. If this is correct, then the last sentence of BGE 14 not only defines the sensualism to be endorsed in BGE 15 but also sets up Nietzsches endorsement of it. For the obvious question raised by the ending of BGE 14 is: why exactly would sensualism be precisely the right imperative for Nietzsche? The beginning of BGE 15 gives us the answer, that if one is to pursue physiology with a good conscience, one must accept that the senses are causal conditions of knowledge.

4. Pursuing Physiology with a Good Conscience Of course, we have yet to explain why accepting sensualismthat the senses are causal conditions of knowledgeis required if one is to pursue physiology with a good conscience. Or even what the latter phrase means. Turning to these issues, consider the somewhat striking fact, which is not apparent in any of the four English translations of BGE we have consulted, that Nietzsche uses the same verb treiben, which we have translated as to pursue, both in relation to physiology in BGE 15to pursue physiology with a good conscience [Um Physiologie mit guten Gewissen zu treiben]and to characterize eternally popular sensualism in BGE 14this is as far as one must pursue any problem [bis so weit muss man jedes Problem treiben]. It could, of course, be accidental that Nietzsche uses the same word in these two quite different contexts. But we doubt it, given Nietzsches mastery of the language he uses, especially in BGE, and the fact that der Triebthe noun drivewhich is derived from treiben, is one of key terms in the book. We suggest that he is trying to signal that there is some important connection between the two contexts, something to think about here. What might that be? It is helpful to bring in Langes work here, agreeing with Hussain that Nietzsche certainly had Lange in mind in writing in BGE 15. We add that he also had Lange in mind in writing BGE 14 and in constructing the transition to BGE
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15. Eternally popular sensualism says that sense evidence is the bottom line, that this is the point to which we must pursue or push or drive every problem. But Lange disagreed with the popular view, insisting that there is a further point to which we can push or drive knowledge, namely, to physiology. As Hussain puts it, Lange suggests that the physiology of the sense organs leads us to the very limits of our knowledge (Hussain 2004: 331; Lange 1879 [1873]: III 202). It does this by explaining how the senses work to give us the information about the world of material objects that we already take ourselves to have. Of course, as Hussain makes clear, Lange adds that physiology also shows us that the senses give us only effects of things, thus that what we take to be material objects are only pictures of an unknown object (Hussain 2004: 332). This is precisely the subjective idealism (or representationalism) against which Clark took Nietzsche to be arguing in BGE 15 (Clark 1990: 1234). We agree. Nietzsches point in segments A and B, as we have laid out the argument, is that if one pursues or pushes physiologythat is, uses physiology, as Lange does, to go beyond popular sensualism to explain how we got the knowledge it takes us to have then one must, to be consistent (i.e., to have a good conscience), accept that the sense organs are causal conditions of knowledge and deny that they are mere pictures. For as such they could not be causes! (BGE 15). Hussains concern about how the physiology of the sense organs could possibly show that we have knowledge makes sense if he means how it could justify the claim that we have knowledge. That is, of course, the project of traditional epistemology, but there is good reason to think Nietzsche rejects that project. In Twilight of the Idols, he says: Today we possess science precisely to the extent to which we have decided to accept the testimony of the sensesto the extent to which we sharpen them further, arm them, and have learned to think them through. The rest is miscarriage and not-yet-sciencein other words, metaphysics, theology, psychology, epistemology. (Nietzsche 1982 [1889]: Reason in Philosophy 3, emphasis our addition; henceforth TI) The distinction Nietzsche implies here between miscarriage and not-yet science is presumably the distinction between those fields that cannot be done on an empirical basis (metaphysics and theology) and those that have not traditionally been done on such a basis (psychology and epistemology) (cf. Clark 1990: 105). We take it that Nietzsche rejects the traditional justificatory project of epistemology, that of providing a philosophical grounding for knowledge. For him, the empirical inquiry of the natural sciences stands in no need of philosophical justification, and his epistemology is an empirical, explanatory doctrine. 5. Sensualism as a Regulative Hypothesis But doesnt Nietzsches sensualism belong to the traditional epistemological realm of justification? After all, he calls it an imperative and formulates
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it as a claim about where we have no business, namely, in the realm of a priori theorizing. Hussains question is how physiology could justify such an imperative. Our answer is that it doesnt, certainly not all by itself. As we have been arguing, Nietzsches claim is that if we are going to use physiology as Lange didto explain how we get the knowledge or gain the information we take ourselves to havethen we must accept that the senses are causal conditions of knowledge. But if we are to explain how the senses are involved in our coming to have knowledge, we must already accept that we have knowledge. The justification for taking ourselves to have knowledge is independent of the use of physiology to explain it.5 Nevertheless, once we have a physiological explanation for the knowledge we take ourselves to have on some independent grounds, we have a reason to rule out the pursuit of nonempirical knowledge. This does not mean that we have shown that a priori knowledge, say of the existence of God, is impossible. Obviously, no physiological theory could show that. But according to our theory, all knowledge is conditioned by the senses, which are therefore causally necessary for knowledge. So the project of using physiology to explain the knowledge we take ourselves to have commits us in all consistency to doubting claims to a priori knowledge. The resulting theory is, of course, a hypothesis, an empirical theory. It may turn out that there is knowledge for which the senses are not necessary. A consistent sensualism must accept the possibility that we might be led (by empirical evidence) to reject sensualism as false. That is, dogmatic empiricism must be rejected. Nevertheless, Nietzsche claims we have reason to accept empiricism at least as a regulative hypothesisas an imperative to regulate our cognitive behavior, to keep us faithful to the earth, as Zarathustra puts it (Nietzsche 1982 [188385]: e.g., Prologue 2, On the Gift-Giving Virtue 2; cf. On Immaculate Perception). Of course, we may or do also accept it as more than that, as the truth about how all knowledge is acquired. But the point is that our degree of confidence in its truth need not be greater than it is for other empirical theories in order to accept the theory as having regulative implications for our behavior. But why introduce norms or regulations at allwhy not be satisfied with a purely descriptive theory about how we acquire knowledge? Clearly Nietzsche thinks the history of philosophy shows us that we need more than that. Claims against the role of the senses in knowledge are all too attractive. We take Nietzsche at his word when he says that such challenges arise from a noble way of thinking (BGE 14). If we are concerned less with honor than with truth, however, we ought to resist easy assent to such claims; Nietzsches formulation of sensualism as an imperative is designed to foster this resistance.6

6. The Rejection of Idealism in BGE If we have now answered Hussains objections to interpreting Nietzsches sensualism as an epistemological doctrine that is equivalent to a consistent or
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non-dogmatic empiricism, we yet havent answered his objection to taking Nietzsche to be arguing against Langes idealism. We have agreed, in effect, with Clark that BGE 15 exhibits Nietzsches realization that for purposes of giving an empirical account of human knowledge, he must presuppose the existence of real, independently existing things: brains, sense organs, the bodies to which they belong, and the bodies with which they interact (Clark 1990: 123). Hussain responds that this is implausible given Nietzsches historical context, because in Lange Nietzsche would have come across a reductio of precisely the kind of empirical theory of knowledge Clark wants to ascribe to him (Hussain 2004: 331). We offer two answers. First, why think Nietzsche would have accepted Langes reductio? Hussain takes Langes argument to be that physiology itself undermines the reliability of the evidence it is based on and thus undermines the theories of physiology themselves. In the process it also undermines the materialistic worldview of mind-, or brain-, independent physical objects in three dimensional space and time. (Hussain 2004: 334) Hussain denies that this argument, which he claims Nietzsche would have encountered in Lange, depends on the traditional demand for a secure foundation for knowledge (Hussain 2004: 89). But this is not easy to accept. What physiology in the end shows us . . . is that for all I know I could be, for example, a brain in a universe which consists only of my brain surrounded by a thin membrane that generates just the right pattern of electrical impulses for the optical nerve, the auditory nerve, etc. (Hussain 2004: 333) But what, then, does physiology add to the traditional skeptical problem? How is the challenge posed by physiology (Physiology shows that it is possible that I am a brain-in-a-vat) fundamentally different than that posed by Descartes (It is possible that I am deceived by an evil genius)? If Nietzsche gave no credence to the latter challenge, why think he was moved by the former? The argument Hussain attributes to Lange appears to be something like this: Physiology tells us that what is happening when we claim to know that P is that some particular nerves are stimulated, etc. But those nerves being stimulated, etc. is compatible with a wide range of accounts of the external world. What reason have we to suppose that the one we had taken to be true is in fact true? Without some such reason, our account of the external world is unjustified. And as we have seen, physiology furnishes us with no such reason. Therefore, our account of the external world, including that of physiology, is unjustifiedand we learn this by attempting to do physiology with a clear conscience, and while finding out that it cant actually be done with one. Hussains Lange may be right that physiology furnishes us with no (nonquestion-begging) reason to hold that our account of the world is true. But it does
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not follow that for all I know that account may be false and I might be a brain in a vat. For among the things I know are many which imply that that account is true and that I am not a brain in a vat. Now the argument here offered is, admittedly, circular. But the circle is vicious only if we are trying to give a foundational justification for our knowledge claims. For even if many accounts of the world are compatible with what physiology tells us is happening when we make claims about the world, that is problematic only if we restrict our sources of evidence to physiology itself. And we would do so only if we were attempting to use physiology to give a foundational justification for knowledge. Therefore, the argument Hussain attributes to Lange is effective only if one thinks that one must, and cannot, supply a theory which provides foundational justification for our knowledge claims (which include those that result from our everyday sensory interaction with the world, as well as its extension and refinement in natural science). We have reason to doubt that Nietzsche would have accepted this. Second, Nietzsche would have come across the very argument Clark claimed to find in BGE 15against using physiology to conclude to idealismin one of the authors Hussain sees as constituting Nietzsches historical-intellectual context, namely, Afrikan Spir. Nietzsche studied the first edition of Spirs Denken und Wirklichkeit from 1873 on, quoted from the second edition of 1877 in Human, All Too Human 18 (Nietzsche 1996 [1877] henceforth HA), clearly was referring to Spir as a distinguished logician in HA 16, and was re-reading and taking notes on Spirs book in 1885, while he was writing BGE (Green 2002: 46). Many passages of BGE reflect its presence in Nietzsches thought (most obviously: BGE 10, 15, 16, 17, 34, 43). Here is a relevant passage from Spir: John Stuart Mill was one of the very few thinkers who saw perfectly clearly that what we cognize as bodies are our own sensations. Among these thinkers, however, Mill was, as far as I know, the only one who made the attempt to derive our knowledge of the world of bodies solely from the given sensations, without pulling in physiological knowledge, which would not be permitted since physiological experience already presupposes the knowledge of the world of bodies and consequently cannot be used for the explanation of its origin. (Spir 1877 I: 135) The first sentence makes clear that, as Hussain also notes, Spir held that material objects are in fact our own sensations. Spir thus accepted a phenomenalism similar to the Machian one Hussain attributes to Nietzsche (more on which below), a position that makes bodies or material objects, in Nietzsches phrase, phenomena in the sense of idealist philosophy. But Spir argues in this passage that one cannot consistently derive phenomenalism from physiology because the latter already presupposes knowledge of the world of bodies. Thus, according to Spirs argument, someone who pursues physiology in the way Lange did, to explain the origin of our knowledge, and who makes no appeal to a priori considerations, cannot consistently conclude to phenomenalism (which Clark
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called representationalism or subjective idealism). This is the argument we take Nietzsche to be giving in BGE 15 and it is basically the one that Clark claimed to find there.7 Of course, on our account, Nietzsche disagrees with Spirs conclusion that physiology cannot be used to explain the origin of such knowledge. But consider the footnote in which Spir explains that conclusion: That is, physiological knowledge may be used for explanation of the knowledge of bodies, but only from the viewpoint of physiology, of empirical knowledge in general, which shows [what is in fact] our sensations as a world of bodies. The theory of knowledge, in contrast, cannot use such empirical knowledge, for it has to show first how in general we come to cognize our sensations as a world of things outside of us. (Spir 1877 I: 135; bracketed material our addition) In other words, physiology cannot explain knowledge in a way that will contribute to the traditional foundational project of epistemology, to which Spir is committed and on which he bases his phenomenalism, as we will argue below. Since, as we have already argued, there is good reason to think that Nietzsche rejects that project, he is free, as Spir puts it, to use physiological knowledge . . . for explanation of the knowledge of bodies, and to deny the need for an explanation from some viewpoint that goes beyond that of empirical knowledge in general. We conclude, then, that it makes perfect sense, given his historical context and his other philosophical views, for Nietzsche to be offering the argument Clark claimed to find in segment A of BGE 15an argument against using an empirical theory to conclude to idealism. And the earlier parts of our discussion fill in what Clark leaves unexplainedhow Nietzsche can conclude to sensualism (which Spir treats as equivalent to basic empiricism) from segment A. We therefore see no basis for seeking an alternative to Clarks interpretation of BGE 15 (Hussain 2004: 328), much less for supposing that Machs ontological version of sensualism has anything to do with its argument.

7. Nietzsches Rejection of Spirs Foundationalism Hussain offers a final argument for attributing Machian sensualism to Nietzsche that takes seriously Spirs influence on him. Although it will not salvage his reading of BGE 15, it is helpful in setting out Nietzsches historical context, and ultimately in seeing why that context would not have led Nietzsche to Machian sensualism. Hussain tells us that several features of Spirs work help to shed light on Nietzsches. The first is the conception of the world of experience in phenomenalist terms as made up of sensations that come and go in various clusters according to their own laws. The second is the conception of our
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Nietzsches Post-Positivism thoughts, and of our language, as referring to clusters of sensations using concepts given which all such claims, literally construed, are false. What is important to see is that according to such a view our claims about middle-sized objects would be false even if there were no thing-in-itself. . . . [The third is that although] my representations are false . . . they [may] convey information about something in the world of experience other than them. (Hussain 2004: 3423)

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The Spirean views Hussain highlights here are important for understanding Nietzsche. Nietzsche did indeed accept Spirean phenomenalism at some point e.g., in HA and the first edition of GSand that is why he thought he still had grounds for accepting the falsification thesis after he rejected the thing-in-itself. It was (at least mostly) from Spir that Nietzsche took over the theory that Clark claimed Nietzsche was rejecting in BGE 15. In these earlier works, he accepted from Spir that the necessary a priori components of knowledge falsify the chaos of sensations, which he considered reality precisely because sensations are the real content of knowledge, the only part we dont contribute or make up. But the concept of the thing-in-itself plays an important part in Spirs theory, and Hussain claims that if we were to remove the thing-in-itself from Spirs account, as Nietzsche did, then the apparent world we would be left with would be that of Machs sensory elements (Hussain 2004: 347). This seems right: Machs neutral monism, according to which sensations are not subjective, in that they do not belong to some particular mind, does seem to follow if one simply removes the thing-in-itself from Spirs view. But we doubt that Nietzsche ever accepted the Machian view. Nietzsche would have been forced to adopt Machs neutral monism only if, while rejecting the thing-in-itself, he continued to accept Spirs commitment to traditional epistemology. But since he rejects both, Nietzsche steps off the Spirean boat before it steams into the Machian port. To see this, consider that Spir begins his book with a chapter on the immediately certain in which he argues for the Cartesian position that a philosophy worthy of the name must begin with immediate certainty (Spir 1877 I: 28)for immediate certainty is the source of all certainty (26) and it was Descartes insight that immediate certainty of a factual nature (in contrast to the rational certainty we have of logical truths and principles of knowledge) is to be discovered only in the content of our consciousness (28). This is what the cogito amounts to, expressed in universal and precise terms: Everything that I find in my consciousness is immediately certain as simple fact of consciousness (27). Spir explains that when I see an object, there is room for doubt whether the seen object exists outside my consciousness. But that I have the given impression of sight which awakened in me the representation of a seen object outside of me admits of no doubt. . . . The same holds for the whole of the contents of consciousness. So one may doubt whether anything outside of us corresponds to this content, but the given content of consciousness itself stands beyond all doubt. (Spir 1877 I: 2728)
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This Cartesian argument not only gets Spir aboard the traditional epistemological project, but it also sets him on course towards phenomenalism. Hussain implies, without exactly saying, that Spir agreed with Lange that one can get to phenomenalism from physiology (Hussain 2004: 332, 333). But this is simply not the case. We have already quoted a passage in which Spir denies just that. Further, Spir makes clear that his phenomenalism comes from two different sources: the teachings of physiology and the facts of perception: Physiology teaches that all perception is mediated by the sense organs and that every sense organ is capable of a specific, unique stimulation, which is always the same, however different the objects that affect the organ. The optical nerve gives only light and color sensations . . . whether it is affected by electricity or light waves. . . . Physiology thus teaches that our sensations are completely separate from real external things, completely unlike and incommensurable with them. (Spir 1877 I: 119) Hussain quotes this passage to show that Spir uses the teachings of physiology to conclude to phenomenalism, but he ignores the role played by what Spir calls the facts of perception in arriving at this conclusion. These facts are that external things are themselves immediately perceived, the material objects of our experience are themselves seen and touched, smelled and tasted, have directly to do with these and know nothing of any mediated process of perception. It is from the combination of these facts of perception with the teaching of physiology that Spir thinks phenomenalism follows, specifically, the thesis that which we cognize as material objects are nothing but our own sensations. But how does this follow? Spir reasons that because we have no awareness of sensations that mediate our perception of a chair, the immediate object of perception is the chair itself. Physiology, however, tells us that the perception of the chair is in fact mediated by sensations. Spir thinks the only way to reconcile this finding of physiology with the facts of perception is to conclude that the chair one immediately perceives is a collection of ones own sensations. But this clearly doesnt follow. Granted that the perception of an object is mediated by sensations, why cant the object perceived belong to the world that is external to consciousness? Spirs answer can only be the Cartesian position he argues for at the beginning of his book, as we have seen, namely, that we have immediate certainty concerningand only concerningthe contents of consciousness, i.e., the immediate objects of consciousness. The immediate object of perception must therefore be something of which we can be immediately certain. According to Spirs argument for the Cartesian position, one can never be certain that one is aware of a chair that is external to consciousness, but only of being appeared to chairly, to use Chisholms formulation (Chisholm 1966). Therefore, the immediate object of perception must be this chairly appearing and not a chair that is external to consciousness. Spir thus needs the claim that we have immediate certainty of the contents of consciousness to get to his phenomenr

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alistic conclusion that the object one perceives is in fact of a collection of ones own sensations. Nietzsche clearly must reject this argument. In BGE 16, he rejects immediate certainties, starting with the Cartesian cogito, along with the thing-in-itself and absolute knowledge, and he uses one of Spirs characteristic Latin phrases to do so, saying that these concepts involve a contradictio in adjecto (BGE 16; Spir 1877, e.g., II: 132). Thus, while Spirs position minus the thing-in-itself may well resemble Machs sensualism, Nietzsche had no reason to accept the latter because he rejects much more of the former than the thing-in-itself. He rejects the whole role that immediate certainties allegedly play in knowledge and certainly do play in Spirs thought, and therefore has no reason to accept phenomenalism, nor therefore to move in Machs direction. For Hussain, the attraction of Machs sensualism is that it allows us to see how, unsurprisingly in the end given his historical context, it is possible to reconcile the falsification thesis with Nietzsches empiricism (Hussain 2004: 355). But this reconciliation requires Nietzsche to be a phenomenalist who takes material objects to be phenomena in the sense of idealist philosophy. In BGE 15, as we argued earlier, Nietzsche rejects Langes view that physiology implies phenomenalism. We have just argued that in BGE 16 he also rejects Spirs view that one can get to phenomenalism by combining physiology with the facts of perception. Clarks 1990 account is thus largely right about the central role of BGE 15 in Nietzsches move away from the falsification thesis. It would have been more accurate, however, if it had presented BGE 15 and 16 (the former as illuminated by its connection to BGE 14) as the twin bases of Nietzsches recognition that he must abandon his commitment to the falsification thesis. We conclude that Hussains paper is a valuable attempt to look to Nietzsches contemporaries for insight into the structure of his thought and that it offers important arguments against Clarks 1990 account of Nietzsches development. These arguments have driven us to illuminate more of Nietzsches argument in BGE 15 than Clark was originally able to do. Yet, we still think that Clark, guided largely by the principle of charity, gave a better reading of Nietzsches argument in BGE 15 than does Hussain, even though he takes into account more of Nietzsches intellectual-historical context. This is probably because Nietzsche was actually a better and more far-seeing philosopher than Hussain gives him credit for being, a judgment for which we think our brief examination of Nietzsches contemporaries provides some evidence. Maudemarie Clark Department of Philosophy and Religion Colgate University 13 Oak Drive Hamilton, NY 13346 USA mclark@colgate.edu David Dudrick Department of Philosophy and Religion Colgate University 13 Oak Drive Hamilton, NY 13346 USA ddudrick@colgate.edu

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1 The main sources for the interpretation to which Hussain refers are Leiter 2002, Clark and Leiter 1997, and Clark 1990, 1998a and 1998b. Schacht 1983 and Wilcox 1974 represent earlier versions of the interpretation of Nietzsche as a naturalist. 2 For purposes of simplification, we ignore here the role of The Gay Science (Nietzsche 1974 [1887]), henceforth GS). Clark claims that the falsification thesis is found in GS and that it contains an argument that is the basis for Nietzsches rejection of the thing-in-itself, but not that he actually recognizes the thing-in-itself as incoherent in this work. 3 Unfortunately, in this paper Clark also denies that the falsification thesis is present in GS. This is implausible. Clarks current view is that the falsification thesis is present in the first four parts of GS, which was published in 1882, but not in the fifth part and preface, published in 1887, thus the same year as GM and the year after BGE. 4 We are ignoring here Hussains second objection to Clarks account, namely, that it leaves certain puzzles regarding the empirical theory of knowledge that, according to Clark, BGE 15 gives Nietzsche a reason to abandon (Hussain 2004: 331). Although there is something to what he says here, we think that our overall account shows that he draws the wrong conclusion from itthat Nietzsche actually accepted Machs theory. The real problem is rather that Clark did not make clear enough the necessary a priori component of the theory Nietzsche accepted. For some clarification, see our discussion of Spirs foundationalism in the last section of this paper. 5 Of course, physiology can in no way offer a complete explanation of how we come to have knowledge of the world. There are many other dimensions of the explanatione.g., historical, social or cultural, and conceptual. BGE 16 alludes to the conceptual requirements for having any knowledge at all, and GS 110 suggests something of Nietzsches account of the historical and social dimensions of knowledge. In the passages under consideration in this paper, Nietzsches point is that to the extent that we accept that knowledge depends on the evidence of the senses, we can explain how this works only through physiologyby explaining how the senses allow us to gain information about the world. 6 In TI, Nietzsche tries to foster resistance in a different way, by presenting inquiry into the role of the senses in knowledge as itself tempting. Just before the passage quoted above, Nietzsche says,

And what magnificent instruments of observation we possess in our senses! This nose, for example, of which no philosopher has yet spoken with reverence and gratitude, is actually the most delicate instrument at our disposal: it is able to detect minimal differences of motion which even a spectroscope cannot detect. (TI, Reason in Philosophy, 3) Clark notes the connection between the argument of BGE 15 and this passage from Spir in Clark 1998b: 75.
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REFERENCES
Chisholm, R. (1966), Theory of Knowledge. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Clark, M. (1990), Nietzsche on Truth and Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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(1998a), Nietzsche, Friedrich, in E. Craig (ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. London: Routledge. (1998b), On Knowledge, Truth and Value: Nietzsches Debt to Schopenhauer and the Development of Empiricism, in C. Janaway (ed.), Willing and Nothingness: Schopenhauer as Nietzsches Educator. Oxford: Clarendon Press. (2005), Nietzsche and Green on the Transcendental Tradition. International Studies in Philosophy 37: 3. Clark, M., and B. Leiter, (1997), Introduction, Daybreak: Thoughts on the Prejudices of Morality by F. Nietzsche, trans. R. J. Hollingdale. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. Green, M. S. (2002), Nietzsche and the Transcendental Tradition. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Hussain, N. J. Z. (2004), Nietzsches Positivism, in European Journal of Philosophy 12: 3, pp. 326368. Lange, F. A. (1879 [1873]), The History of Materialism, trans. E. C. Thomas. 2 ed. London: Tru bner & Company. Leiter, B. (2002), Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Nietzsche on Morality. London and New York: Routledge. Nietzsche, F. W. (1886), Beyond Good and Evil. All translations are Clarks. (1997 [1886]), Daybreak: Thoughts on the Prejudices of Morality, trans. R. J. Hollingdale. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (1974 [1887]), The Gay Science, trans. Walter Kaufmann. New York: Vintage Books. (1996 [1877]), Human, All Too Human, trans. R. J. Hollingdale. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (1998 [1887]), On the Genealogy of Morality, trans. Maudemarie Clark and Alan Swenson. Indianapolis, Indiana: Hackett Publishing Company. (1982 [188385]), Thus Spoke Zarathustra, trans. W. Kaufmann, in W. Kaufmann (ed.), The Portable Nietzsche. New York: Viking Penguin. (1982 [1889]), Twilight of the Idols, trans. Walter Kaufmann, in W. Kaufmann (ed.), The Portable Nietzsche. New York: Viking Penguin. Quine, W. V. O. (1953), From a Logical Point of View. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Schacht, R. (1983), Nietzsche. London: Routledge. Spir, A. (1877), Denken und Wirklichkeit. Versuch einer Ereuerung der kritischen Philosophie, 2d ed, Leipzig: All translations are Clarks. Wilcox, J. T. (1974), Truth and Value in Nietzsche: A Study of His Metaethics and Epistemology. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.

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