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Indiana University~Purdue University, Indianapolis




Heidegger has devoted over 1400 pages of published work to an interpretation of Nietzsche and there emerges from his pages a Nietzsche quite unlike any yet encountered either in Nietzsche's own interpretation of himself or in the interpretations of others. Here Nietzsche appears as a metaphysician even though he scorned metaphysics, as a Platonist even though he thought of himself as the anti-Platonist, as a nihilist even though he said he overcame nihilism. Here is a Nietzsche who never said in print what he really thought after Zarathustra, whose real philosophical position must be pieced together from the multitude of notes he never published. Here is a Nietzsche who is a "destiny" but not in the sense that Nietzsche meant it in Ecce Homo; Nietzsche is a destiny who has to be overcome because he exemplifies the very cultural tradition he thought he was surmounting. Nietzsche long feared that he would be misunderstood, that he would be taken for someone else, as he says in Ecce Homo. According to Heidegger, Nietzsche had good reason to fear, for Nietzsche himself had misunderstood who he was. 1 While Heidegger clearly thinks Nietzsche is a philosopher who merits close study, he would not have us be hasty in our reading of Nietzsche : Heidegger advises that before studying Nietzsche one should spend 10-15 years studying Aristotle. One would not ordinarily think of Aristotle as a prolegomenon to Nietzsche but neither would one ordinarily think of Nietzsche as a Platonist. Evidently the Nietzsche for which we need special preparation is Heidegger's Nietzsche, the indispensable ingredient being a prior knowledge of Heidegger, not Aristotle. Consequently it is expedient to begin this account of Heidegger's interpretation of Nietzsche with some indication of Heidegger's general approach. For this, two brief quotations from Nietzsche himself will be helpful. First :

Historia abscondita. Every great human being has a retroactive force : all history is again placed in the scales for his sake, and a thousand secrets of the past crawl out of their hideouts - - into his sun. 2
In its broadest scope, Heidegger's work is a revaluation of Western history and experience. It has a retroactive force in that the past, when viewed from Heidegger's perspective, becomes what it was never seen to be before. Hei353

LAURENCE LAMPERT degger attempts to illuminate the hidden history of the West, a hidden history in which philosophers play a uniquely important role. Many secrets of Western philosophy crawl into the light of Heidegger's sun, one of which is a hitherto quite unsuspected Nietzsche. In Heidegger's scales Nietzsche emerges as one of the philosopher's of Western history, one who is to be ranked with Aristotle, or Kant, and who is singularly significant because he stands so near to us. Heidegger's Nietzsche interpretation is an integral part of a monumental task, a task no less grand than the mission Nietzsche felt was his. The defiant, "mad" embrace of the decisive role so characteristic of Nietzsche's later work is lacking in Heidegger's writings, but, though the tone be utterly different, the sense of world historical urgency is the same. The proper understanding of Nietzsche is so important to Heidegger's task that it is fair to say that Heidegger and Nietzsche are agreed on one point at least: we neglect or misunderstand Nietzsche to our peril. The abo~e quotation from The Gay Science, may be somewhat misleading in application to Heidegger for it implies a potentially infinite malleability of the past, with ever new scales of measurement and ever new secrets appearing. Some of Heidegger's comments on his own interpretations of past philosophers could be read in this way. While he understands past philosophers in ways they never understood themselves, he says this means understanding them in a way "other" than they understood themselves and not necessarily "better." a But we need not be deflected by this caveat of apparent modesty. It is quite misleading. In the end, there is nothing modest about Heidegger's claims for his interpretations, nor could he be committed to a relativism that takes his own interpretations as merely one optional perspective among others. No, the secrets that crawl into the light of Heidegger's sun are the hitherto unrevealed realities that have only now been disclosed. Heidegger's Nietzsche is the Nietzsche that matters to us, and for Heidegger to refuse to say that his interpretation is better seems only to confuse the issue. Why avoid "better" then ? An incidental reason is that Heidegger wants to avoid (having so often borne) the charge of arrogance and high-handedhess in his interpretations of previous philosophers. * The essential reason, however, is that Heidegger affirms a historical relativism that is particularly sensitive to what is possible in different historical periods. To confine ourselves to Nietzsche : alternative interpretations are not simple comparables 354

HEIDEGGER'S NIETZSCHE I N T E R P R E T A T I O N that can be evaluated in terms of better, best. Nietzsche's self-interpretation is not "worse" than Heidegger's Nietzsche interpretation. Heidegger maintains that it is precisely Nietzsche's thinking that opens up the possibility of understanding the movement of Western philosophy. That possibility was not open to Nietzsche. Avoidance of the comparative is a recognition of the historically possible. Beyond that the avoidance of "better" is a quibble: Heidegger certainly holds that his Nietzsche is "truer" than Nietzsche's self-interpretation; that is to say, it discloses or uncovers more of the essential matter of Nietzsche's thought. The second quotation from Nietzsche promised above illustrates one of the consequences of an analysis, like Heidegger's, that serves a broader purpose than simply trying to understand what a particular philosopher meant. In a note included in The Will to Power (w 374) Nietzsche says : Plato... becomes a caricature in my hands. The note as a whole discusses the self-serving distortions that opponents prefer to maintain about one another. Nietzsche recognizes that his own analyses do not issue in well-rounded portraits, nor do they intend to. With regard to Plato for example, Nietzsche does not pretend to, say everything. His purpose, rather, is to criticize what he regards as harmful in Plato, even though Plato is not for him a wholly negative figure. The resultant caricature nevertheless purports to convey the essential things in terms of Nietzsche's purpose. In a similar manner Nietzsche becomes something of a caricature in Heidegger's hands. This is not necessarily a criticism of Heidegger's interpretation - - it is simply the recognition that Heidegger's account of Nietzsche is severely limited by the purpose it serves. That purpose is not polemical, as the purpose behind Nietzsche's "caricatures" is; the purpose is more strictly historical : Nietzsche is to be seen as one of a small number o,f men who can, when properly understood, disclose to us the real meaning of Western history. Heidegger is not interested in "the man and his work"; he is interested in Nietzsche insofar as he actually affords an insight into the Western tradition. Because it serves this strict purpose, Heidegger's account of Nietzsche is remarkably fragmentary for all its exhausting length. Heidegger is concerned exclusively with Nietzsche's thought, and in Heidegger's view psychological or sociological factors never impinge on that thought in ways that would be 355

LAURENCE LAMPERT worth mentioning. 5 This is not argued; these factors are simply ignored. Furthermore, only selected parts of Nietzsche's thought are discussed by Heidegger. Omitted are such insistent concerns of Nietzsche as the genealogy of morals and the attack oa Christianity. Again, it is not argued, it is simply to be understood that such matters are peripheral to Nietzsche's real task, the task which remained a secret to Nietzsche himself. By thus omitting many matters and highlighting others, Heidegger means to portray the essential figure of Nietzsche. The principle of selection is clearly what Heidegger himself thinks is important in Nietzsche and not what Nietzsche thinks : for Heidegger the essential Nietzsche is not found in "Dionysus versus the Crucified" - - the signature with which Nietzsche ends Ecce Homo. What is the principle of selection that is at work here ? Heidegger's determination of what is important and what unimportant in Nietzsche follows from his judgment that Nietzsche is a "thinker." While the criteria for inclusion in the list of thinkers (or for exclusion therefrom) are far from clear, it is nevertheless evident that for Heidegger the thinker occupies a special sphere and fulfills a unique task. Heidegger interprets Nietzsche the way he interprets all thinkers. If his specific counsel regarding the way to interpret thinkers is sometimes mysterious6 there is, nevertheless, no real mystery about its general features, which are exemplified time and again in Heidegger's own analyses. It is concerned with the two things that mark the thinker. First, the thinker reflects upon and expresses the most basic features of man's being and man's relationship to the totality of beings. Second, the thinker signals a stage in the unfolding history of man's way of taking himself in his encounter with beings as a whole, that is, the thinker is located in a tradition from which he draws and to which he contributes. The insights of the thinker are not arbitrary or accidental; they disclose the way things are; they disclose the being of man and the being of beings? The consistent theme of all of Heidegger's analyses of thinkers is : just how is man's being understood in relation to the totality of beings which he encounters ? and the complex answer to this question refers constantly to a traditional context of an already determined standpoint which is clarified, modified and advanced by the thinker under consideration. With these marks of the thinker in mind we can perceive immediately the specific limits of Heidegger's concern with Nietzsche. That concern is limited to three themes : 356

HEIDEGGER'S NIETZSCHE INTERPRETATION 1. Nietzsche's insight into the being of man and the being of beings. 2. The relation of continuity and advance that obtains between Nietzsche's insights and the philosophical tradition he inherits, however unknowingly. 3. The relation between Nietzsche's insights and the contemporary world. These three themes are basic. The rest of this paper will refer to them regularly and attempt to clarify each of them. Regarding 1 : Heidegger maintains that Nietzsche's mature thought is fundamentally metaphysical; that is, it is concerned primarily with being, with the being of man and the being of beings as a whole. Heidegger isolates and discusses the main doctrines - - will to power, eternal recurrence, nihilism, superman, God is dead, truth, revenge - - and attempts to show that they are all expressions of Nietzsche's view of the being of beings. For Heidegger, Nietzsche's mature thought is rigorous and consistent in its attempt to rethink the fundamental questions of being, and Heidegger attempts to present a faithful explication of Nietzsche's central doctrines. It is important to recognize that this aspect of Heidegger's interpretation requires only a careful exegesis of Nietzsche's texts. Of course this task is treacherous enough as the myriad of conflicting exegeses of Nietzsche testifies. Heidegger's explication ought to be kept separate from the other themes of his interpretation. While the other two themes are dependent on the legitimacy of the exegesis, the reverse is not true; whatever the standing of the other two themes they cannot confirm or impugn the exegesis as such. Therefore, in the subsequent discussion of particular doctrines, I will keep Heidegger's explication of the doctrines separate from the other two themes of his interpretation. Regarding 2 : It is here that Heidegger's interpretation sounds strangest. Nietzsche's own view of his task and his success was that he had thought through the ruins of the Platonic-Christian "fable" and emerged affirmatively beyond it. But Heidegger maintains that while Nietzsche has indeed reversed Platonism as he understood it ("the sensible world becomes the true and the supersensible the apparent world ''8) this understandil~g of Platonism is superficial. 9 Heidegger agrees with Nietzsche on the basic matter: all previous philosophy is governed by Platonism and what is needed is the overcoming of Platonism. But Heidegger holds that in taking the essence of Platonism to be the distinction between the true and apparent worlds Nietzsche failed to reach the essence of Platonism. Heidegger himself attempts to carry out the program Nietzsche initiated - - the reversal of 357

&AURENCE LAMPERT Platonism - - and he holds that he is in a better position to do this than Nietzsche was : he understands what Platonism is. Armed with this understanding Heidegger can see that Nietzsche himself has fallen prey to Platonism, and not just in an incidental and occasional manner; Nietzsche's thinking represents "an almost unhuman allegiance to the most hidden history of the West ''1~ - - that is, to Platonism. Regarding 3: It is here that Heidegger's interpretation sounds boldest. Heidegger maintains that Nietzsche is a destiny because his central doctrines which fulfill the metaphysical tradition also disclose the truth about the being of man and things in the contemporary world. 11 To understand Nietzsche is to understand ourselves and to recognize our usually unrecognized stance toward ourselves and our world. Accordingly Heidegger not only attempts to state what Nietzsche thought and to relate that to the philosophical tradition, he attempts to show that what Nietzsche said in his central doctrines is true. These doctrines are true in the sense that they have become true, not in the sense that Nietzsche himself meant when he said of will to power that while it is "an innovation as a theory - - as a reality it is the primordial fact of all history. ' ' ~ For Heidegger these doctrines are statements about the way things are in the present. This judgment is quite independent of any notion of Nietzsche's influence, and Heidegger never bothers to chronicle such influence. Heidegger's relativism is far from the view that a philosophical position becomes "true" because it is regarded as true. xa Heidegger holds that Nietzsche's doctrines are true because they faithfully describe man's way of being in the present. His historical relativism is expressed in his judgment that it has not always been so. To understand more specifically how these considerations are applied to Nietzsche I will discuss two doctrines as interpreted by Heidegger - - will to power and nihilism. The selection of these two doctrines does not imply that they are the two most important. Eternal recurrence, superman, and Nietzsche's view of truth are equally important. However, the two chosen readily reveal the core of Heidegger's analysis and exemplify his singular procedure.
Will to Power

For Heidegger, all of Nietzsche's central doctrines - - will to power, eternal recurrence, overman, truth, nihilism - - are metaphysical in the sense that 358

HEIDEGGER'S NIETZSCHE INTERPRETATION they express the fundamental characteristics of beings as a whole. They are not, as would appear to be the case, doctrines about man's psychological makeup or about particular characteristics of particular things. 1~ As attempts to describe the nature of reality as a whole they also, but only derivatively, describe the nature of man. Will to power for Heidegger is a doctrine that states what beings are, all beings. To be is to be will to power. For Heidegger, this doctrine is similar in range to other metaphysical doctrines that attempt to. describe or name the basic "whatness" of beings as a whole, such as Aristotle's doctrine of categories or the Medieval and Cartesian doctrines of substance. *s Will to power signifies what beings are as beings; TM it is the statement of a metaphysical monism that for Nietzsche indicates the abolition of the Platonic disjunction between being and becoming. For Nietzsche, the real is constantly becoming; it is constantly striving to surmount itself, to increase itsdf. The totality, as becoming, as process, is will to power. "Will to power, becoming, life, and being in the widest sense mean the same thing in Nietzsche's language. ''17 The term "will to power" would seem to imply that there is one kind of will - - a will to power - - that can be distinguished from other kinds of will, and that there are kinds of power that can be distinguished from a will to power. But in Heidegger's interpretation, will to power is not just one kind of will among others. *s Willing is in its very nature a striving to be more. Also, power is in its very nature a willing-to-be-more-power. .9 Metaphysically, will is always will to power and power is simply the actuality of willing. 2~ Heidegger is by no means the first to take will to power as a metaphysical doctrine. Yet, like others who read Nietzsche in this way, Heidegger must rest his interpretation on a decision about Nietzsche's texts and not on any apparent ambiguities or subtleties in the doctrine itself : there are numerous texts that indicate unequivocally that Nietzsche took will to power to be a metaphysical principle. The great majority of these, however, are found in the unpublished notes of 1884-1888. The question is : are these texts authoritative ? Heidegger maintains that Zarathustra and these unpublished notes are the key to Nietzsche's philosophy. As for the actual books that Nietzsche had published after Zarathustra, Heidegger regards them as polemics, "outcries" that do not state directly Nietzsche's philosophical position2 * The authority of the notes is crucial for Heidegger's case 359

,LAURENCE LAMPERT regarding Nietzsche as metaphysician, but he characteristically makes little attempt to argue for their standing. In contrast to Heidegger, Walter Kaufmann argues for the primacy of the published works and arrives, on that basis, at the conclusion that will to power is a statement about man based on what Nietzsche took as psychological evidence, 22 and that Nietzsche's extension of this doctrine into a metaphysical principle is "an afterthought - an extreme conjecture variance with Nietzsche's own critical principles. T M These completely different conclusions about wiil to power result largely from the decisions about what to regard as authoritative, the published works or the unpublished notes. 2~ Heidegger could have made a strong case for his high estimation of the unpublished notes as they pertain to will to power; one need not attribute his conclusion simply to his desire to see Nietzsche as a metaphysician. There is no positive evidence whatever in Nietzsche's writings, published or unpublished, that he regarded his doctrine of will to power as merely tentative or as an experimental hypothesis. Nor is there any positive evidence that Nietzsche had abandoned the notion of will to power as metaphysics. If the metaphysical aspects of will to power are taken as an afterthought, as Kaufmann suggests, it is certainly a most unusual and persistent afterthought : one that appears as early as 1885 in the notes, 25 one that lasts until the end of Nietzsche's reflections as reproduced in the notes, :2~ one that occupied a great deal of his time and effort between these dates, and one that provides a basis for his accounts of life itself and of the activities of man. Also, the published works do contain references to the metaphysical aspects of will to p o w e r y That they contain so few while the unpublished notes contain so many can be accounted for on the basis of Nietzsche's intentions for the published works. In Ecce Homo Nietzsche says that after Zarathustra came the "No-saying, No-doing part" of his work, the task was one of "destroying. ''28 That the notes on the metaphysical aspects of will to power are not included in these works is in itself no indication that he rejected their content. They simply did not serve the polemic purpose of the works he published during that time. Similarly, a great deal of material on nihilism and epistemology does not appear in the published works because these topics too fell outside the task of those works. Where will to power does appear in the published works following Zarathustra it is seen primarily as the basic principle of human behavior that explains such human products as philosophy, morals, religion, and politics. That Nietzsche in these works 360

HEIDEGGER'S NIETZSCHE INTERPRETATION applies will to power as a principle of explanation to human actions and products is in itself no indication that will to power is limited to human actions and products. It is Heidegger's view that the psychology of will to power present in the published works is derivative from the more general principle of will to power that stands at the center on Nietzsche's thinking. The psychological reductionism of the published works is not for Heidegger an indication of the primacy of psychology. Rather, Nietzsche can interpret man's nature and history on the basis of a reductive psychology of will to power precisely because that psychology is itself based on an all-inclusive metaphysical doctrine of will to power. Nietzsche's psychological unmasking of philosophy, for example,'~9 is not a psychology of metaphysics a~ but the application of one metaphysical view to other metaphysical views, al We can understand now why Heidegger exhibits little interest in the specifics of Nietzsche's genetic accounts of philosophy, morals, and religion. As crucial as these matters are for Nietzsche, they are understood by Heidegger to be simply applications of the consistent core of Nietzsche's metaphysics to diverse issues. Heidegger is interested in the metaphysical principles which serve as the ground of Nietzsche's genetic accounts, not in the genetic accounts themselves. Will to power is one of those central metaphysical prindples inasmuch as it states what beings are insofar as they are beings at all. Heidegger's apparently capricious determination of what to regard as important is not without a basis in Nietzsche's own work. This then is the gist of Heidegger's explication of Nietzsche's doctrine of will to power. His further claims about the doctrine attempt to locate Nietzsche in the history of philosophy as a whole and go far beyond an explication of Nietzsche's texts. Heidegger makes two further claims about the doctrine of will to power: first, that it represents the fulfillment of the metaphysics of the post-Cartesians; as and second, that it expresses the real essence of man and being in the contemporary world. These two claims are closely connected with one another and with Heidegger's view of the thinker's task. Heidegger maintains that the doctrine of will to power is no arbitrary creationaa but is the natural extension of the central view of modern metaphysics, the view that being is will. In a passage duplicated in two of his essays on Nietzsche, Heidegger traces the understanding of being as will from Leibniz through the German Idealists to Nietzsche. a4 Heidegger places Nietzsche at the end of a long-standing philosophical 361

,LAURENCE LAMPERT tradition (the modern philosophical tradition for Heidegger). Nietzsche belongs to the tradition as its culmination because his doctrine of will to power unfolds what has always been implicit in it. Nietzsche's doctrine states what will is : an ever expanding and consuming willing to be more. It thus clarifies retrospectively what has long been present in philosophy and is in no way the overly enthusiastic aberration of an imaginative thinker. It is to this line of metaphysical thinkers that Nietzsche belongs, more so than to the line of anti-Platonist, anti-Christian critics at the head of which he placed himself. But in saying that being is will to power, Nietzsche does not demonstrate that he has been convinced by his philosophical predecessors. It is not a matter of philosophical influences that leads Nietzsche to take being as will to: power. Nor is his thinking overtly an attempt to unfold their essential position; nor is it an attempt to go them one step better. In Heidegger's view, the modern tradition of philosophy is not, for all its essential harmony, a sequence of transmitted influences. This is the cardinal point in Heidegger's view of the history of philosophy: the fundamental relationships in the history of philosophy are not between philosophers but between the individual philosopher and his subject matter, a subject matter Heidegger calls "that which gives itself to be thought" or that which the thinker is given to think. Of course these expressions could be misleading. But the language is carefully chosen in order to, avoid the common supposition that the thinker or anyone - - is or can become independent of his setting in what he thinks about or in what he concludes. In avoiding this error Heidegger risks sounding as if the thinker is wholly fated or manipulated or conditioned in his thinking. But the risk is evidently worth taking in order to insist that the thinker is situated in the midst of an already constituted understanding of being which it is his task to disclose. This historically conditioned understanding of being is what is given to be thought. Thus when Heidegger writes about the history of philosophy his constant point is that the history of philosophy records the history of being, of that which is given to be thought. The reason philosophy has a continuous history at all is that that which gives itself to be thought is historical. Now, to apply all this to Nietzsche : The tradition of modern philosophy takes being as will, Heidegger maintains, because in the modern world that which gives itself to be thought, being, discloses itself as will. "That the Being of being appears here invariably and always as will, is not because a few philosophers have


HEIDEGGER'S NIETZSCHE INTERPRETATION formed opinions about Being. T M Nietzsche responds not to his philosophical predecessors but to. what presents itself to his thought when he designates being as will to power. Nietzsche's doctrine expresses the essential character of the contemporary world : being is will to power in the present age. 3G For Heidegger this is the age of will to power in the metaphysical sense and also in a too,re everyday sense : modern man's stance toward the world aims at controlling and subduing it. Nietzsche's thought heralds "the moment when man is about to assume dominion of the earth as a whole. T M For Heidegger, the technological urge - - the urge to calculate, engineer, control, record, manipulate, m o b i l i z e - - is indicative of our way of being human and our way of taking the world. The analysis of will to power is typical of Heidegger's analyses of the doctrines of thinkers. He consistently takes such doctrines to be rooted in a t':adition in such a way that the essential character of the tradition is disclosed or unfolded in the doctrines. In Heidegger's language, a thinker "gathers" draws together and draws out - - what has been implicit in the tradition he necessarily takes over. a8 Such a "gathering" is at the same time the thinker's insight into the contemporary world, a world that is shaped by the developing tradition no less than is the thinker's thinking, aa Given this framework, Nietzsche's thinking is uniquely important: it discloses the essence of the tradition to which we are all heirs and at the same time illuminates the nature of the present world. It is in Heidegger's interpretation of Nietzsche's view of nihilism that Nietzsche's singular relevance becomes most graphic.


Both Nietzsche and Heidegger understand themselves to be engaged in a historic effort to overcome what each deems to be a rampant and pervasive nihilism. While his view of nihilism is considerably different from Nietzsche's, Heidegger nevertheless regards Nietzsche's insight into nihilism as essential for any proper understanding of it. Most of Nietzsche's reflections on nihilism are contained in his unpublished notes. Although there are few references to it in the published works, these references have, on the whole, the virtue of consistency : nihilism is a sense of meaninglessness and resignation, and Nietzsche is against it. 4~ The unpublished notes greatly expand this view but they also add a nest of ambiguities. The most important ambiguity Nietzsche himself introduces : 363

~LAURENCE LAMPERT Nihilism. It is ambiguous : A. Nihilism as a sign of increased power of the spirit : as active nihilism. B. Nihilism as decline and recession of the power of the spirit : as passive nihilism. 41 Characteristically, Nietzsche's reflections on nihilism present a genetic analysis of its causes. If nihilism means that "the highest values devaluate themselves, ''~2 then these highest values are themselves the cause of nihilism. Nihilism, Nietzsche maintains, is a "psychological state" of despondency reached when the highest values which "project" some value on the world are "pulled out" so that the world looks valueless. 4~ Nihilism as a sense of meaninglessness is a consequence of having believed in a meaning that is not there. 44 But Nietzsche himself blurs this distinction between cause and consequence by referring to traditional beliefs and values as themselves nihilistic. 45 Furthermore, Nietzsche calls himself a nihilist and refers to his own doctrines as nihilism, 46 in opposition both to the uniformly critical comments on nihilism in the published works and to other notes of the same period which speak of his overcoming of nihilism. 47 Out of this seemingly contradictory assortment, Heidegger develops a consistent and convincing interpretation. What Heidegger shows is that Nietzsche's account of nihilism presents a vision of the whole history of Western thought and Heidegger exploits the ambiguity in Nietzsche's disparate notes to make his case. Heidegger holds that Nietzsche sees nihilism as a historical movement, 4s but not merely as one among many historical movements. Rather, nihilism represents the "inner logic" of Western history, the hitherto undetected law of its development. 49 According to Heidegger, Nietzsche maintains that all of Western thought - - past, present and future - - is nihilistic in respectively different senses of the term. Certainly diverse references from Nietzsche's writings can be marshalled to show that he held the reigning views in the past, present and (in anticipation) future to be nihilistic in some sense. What Heidegger's analysis does is to weld these apparently contradictory pronouncements into a consistent account that both harmonizes the notes and elucidates Nietzsche's other central doctrines. The paragraphs that follow give an outline of Heidegger's interpretation based on the different meanings of nihilism in the past, present, and future. With regard to the past, Nietzsche holds that the leading philosophic and religious doctrines took themselves to be the antidote to an always threatening 564

HEIDEGGER'S NIETZSCHE INTERPRETATION meaninglessness. 5~ As such they posited a meaning for all things, but for Nietzsche this can only be a meaning that things do not have. 51 Furthermore, this posited, invented meaning is itself nihilism. In Heidegger's analysis this is the first stage of Nietzche's historical analysis : nihilism as the positing of values that things themselves, as will to power, lack altogether. 52 When these invented values are seen for what they are the consequence is nihilism as a psychological state - - a feeling of valuelessness2 3 This for Nietzsche is one of the aspects of nihilism as a present condition, the nihilism of hopes dashed, the nihilism which despairs because, while it recognizes no meaning in things, it cannot abandon its belief that there "ought to be" a meaning in things. 5. But this is only one aspect of the present stage of nihilism because in the present nihilism is ambiguous in a variety of ways, ways that Nietzsche characterizes by his distinctions between incomplete and complete nihilisms, ~ passive and active nihilism, 56 and the nihilisms of weakness and strength. 57 For Heidegger, the first half of each of these disjunctions indicates a nihilism that recognizes the devaluation of values but is unable to counteract it. 58 The second half of each, on the other hand, is Nietzsche's own form of nihilism which he anticipates will be the nihilism of the future29 As Heidegger sees it, Nietzsche's nihilism of the future is one that attempts to overcome both the values of the past and the dread occasioned by their devaluation. It is the nihilism of devaluation and revaluation. This complete active nihilism of strength Nietzsche calls "ecstatic nihilism ''~~ and it is characterized by the removal of old values and the positing of new values. For Heidegger, this nihilism stems from Nietzsche's metaphysics of will to power, Gx Dora man, taken now as the source of all values, furnishing himself with values that are true to the earth and not grounded in a beyond. For Heidegger it is the metaphysical doctrine of will to power that enables Nietzsche to account for the positing of values, the devaluation of values and that further permits Nietzsche to develop a program (however impressionistic) for the revaluation of values. ~2 In the history of Western thought, as seen by Nietzsche, the will to power of man expresses itself as value bestowing, as value destroying and finally as value bestowing in a new sense based upon the recognition of will to power as the essence of things. r This then is the gist of Heidegger's explication of Nietzsche's doctrine of nihilism. But with this doctrine as with the others Heidegger goes beyond explication to elaborate his two fundamental claims about the doctrines of 365

LAURENCE LAMPERT thinkers: they are rooted in the tradition and they illuminate their contemporary world. Regarding the first claim, Heidegger holds that Nietzsche's account of nihilism is bound to the tradition that it intends to subvert because it fixes on values as the crucial issue. 6'4 Such an estimation of values - - implying as it does that man is the creator and sustainer of values and that reality is amenable to virtually any evaluation - - discloses Nietzsche's perpetuation of the two basic tendencies of Western thought, tendencies, be it noted, that define nihilism in Heidegger's sense. Here we see most clearly Heidegger's notion that the doctrines of thinkers illuminate retroactively by disclosing what is hidden but nevertheless implicit in the doctrines of their predecessors. Heidegger affirms that one can understand the most basic tendencies of Plato's thought by studying Nietzsche - - not indeed by accepting Nietzsche's view of Plato but by seeing Nietzsche's doctrines as the ultimate unfolding of Plato's position. While Nietzsche is mistaken in what he says about Plato, his own doctrines exhibit the essence of Platonism. The relation between Nietzsche and Descartes is similar : Nietzsche in criticizing Descartes both misunderstood his adversary and fulfilled his work. ~5 The same is true of Nietzsche and Kant. Nietzsche becomes the key to understanding the movement of Western philosophy because Nietzsche is taken as the fulfillment of it the end, seemingly, toward which it has been directed. What then are the two traditional tendencies that Nietzsche fulfills and thereby illuminates ? The first is that man is taken to be the ultimate subject, the ground of the determination of the essence and value of beings as a whole. Thus Nietzsche : "Let us imagine the philosopher's eye resting on creation : he will make a new estimate of its value. For it has been the special task of all great thinkers to be the legislators of the measure, stamp and weight of things. ''"~ Heidegger is far from saying that Western thinkers have overtly and uniformly held that than man and only man is the root of all values. He is saying that such a position - - Nietzsche's position - - is the natural or necessary working out of a tradition that begins by giving man primacy as viewer (by seeing the truth of beings in terms of the form they display to man's intellectual vision) as occurs, according to Heidegger, in Plato. The reverse way of putting this is that Western philosophy is Platonism ~7 and that Nietzsche is the most unrestrained Platonist of all. 68 The second and related tendency of Western thought that is fulfilled by Nietzsche's doctrine of nihilism is the neglect of the question of being. 366

HEIDEGGER'S NIETZSCHE INTERPRETATION Nietzsche regards being explicitly as a vapor and a fallacy6'9 and for Heidegger this defiant rejection is the culmination of an always present neglect from Plato onwards. This neglect of the question of being is masked by philosophy's preoccupation with the being of the highest being and with the being (essence, nature) of beings as a whole. But in Heidegger's sense the question of being itself goes unasked - - and here as elsewhere Nietzsche states with clarity what is latent in the tradition. Heidegger's judgment here is clearly opposed to Nietzsche's self-assessment. Heidegger sees Nietzsche's advocacy of active nihilism as the fulfillment of the Western tradition while Nietzsche sees it as its overcoming. For EIeidegger, Nietzsche's judgment about the essence of the tradition was superficial inasmuch as he believed himself to be opposed to it most vehemently in his advocacy of the priority of man and the neglect of being. Heidegger maintains that these are the two most basic tendencies of that tradition. Nevertheless, while Nietzsche's doctrine of nihilism can be understood as the fulfillment of the tradition of philosophy, it is misleading to think of it as primarily that. Here as elsewhere in his history of philosophy Heidegger holds that the thinker formulates his position in response to the world that presents itself to be thought about and not in response to his predecessors. Nietzsche's thinking on nihilism owes its character to the world that it responds to and reveals : the contemporary world. This is Heidegger's second general claim about the doctrines of Nietzsche : they express the nature of the contemporary world. That these doctrines also fulfill and disclose the tradition of philosophy indicates then that it is the contemporary world that fulfills the Western tradition : the continuity in the history of philosophy is derivative from the essential continuity of the history of the disclosures of being. Just as Nietzsche's doctrine of will to power discloses contemporary man's characteristic way of taking being, so too does the nihilism that Nietzsche espouses : the priority of man and the neglect of being reach their culmination in our time and are characteristic of our time. Nietzsche's active or ecstatic nihilism is for Heidegger precisely what prevails in the present age. 7~ For Heidegger, then, the overcoming so fervently sought and so urgently needed is not to be found in Nietzsche. Heidegger's own constructive task must be seen as the overcoming of Nietzsche. One of Nietzsche's last written communications was a postcard to Georg 367

,LAURENCE LAMPERT Brandes dated Jan 4, 1889 : Once you discovered me it was no trick to find me. The difficulty now is to lose me. On Heidegger's reading of this note, vl to find Nietzsche is to understand him as the thinker who expresses contemporary man's way of being, the culmination of a tradition of human priority over and dominance of beings as a whole. But Heidegger attempts to "find" Nietzsche in this way in order to "lose" him. Because Heidegger's task is the overcoming o f metaphysics and because Nietzsche's thought is the present metaphysically displayed, Nietzsche is the thinker whose thought Heidegger most directly opposes. Obviously this opposition cannot consist of a refutation of Nietzsche's do~rines because in Heidegger's view the doctrines are not mistaken. Opposition to Nietzsche must consist of a radically different way of taking man's relation to himself and to beings as a whole; it must consist of a new beginning that abandons the metaphysical thinking that Nietzsche exemplifies. Moreover, such opposition cannot be engineered by man's willingness to think and be in a new way - - to think that such a feat is possible is to perpetuate the arrogance of metaphysics, and it is metaphysics that is here being opposed. Rather, opposition, if opposition is possible, must consist of a diligent response to an event in the history of being that is already occurring. The foregoing discussion of Heidegger's interpretation of Nietzsche has kept separate the three themes that I take to be central in Heidegger's reading: the explication of Nietzsche's doctrines as metaphysics, Nietzsche's place in the philosophical tradition, and Nietzsche as the philosopher of the contemporary world. In what remains I will comment on these three themes with respect to the general question of the grounds or "warrant" for Heidegger's conclusions. TM 1. The explication of Nietzsche's doctrines : In the preceding discussions of will to power and nihilism, I have tried to indicate that Heidegger's explication rests on secure textual grounds. Obviously any defense of Heidegger's explication must remain partial here, not only because of the limited number of doctrines discussed, but more importantly because of the nature of Heidegger's explication. Heidegger sees Nietzsche's thought as an interconnected and systematic whole even though Nietzsche's manner of writing 368

HEIDEGGER'S NIETZSCHE I N T E R P R E T A T I O N and thinking exhibits little aptitude for the architectonic. Much of the strength of Heidegger's analysis lies in its singular capacity to. illuminate systematically the whole of Nietzsche's thought, to demonstrate the harmony that exists among the various doctrines, and to indicate the ways in which they mutually augment and clarify one another. Heidegger's claim that Nietzsche is a metaphysician depends on the success of this demonstration. For Heidegger, to be a metaphysician is to be, afortiori, systematic in the relevant sense of addressing the traditional problems of philosophy from the standpoint of a unitary understanding of the' being of beings (in Nietzsche's case, will to power). Heidegger's explication is opposed particularly to a reading of Nietzsche like Karl Jaspers' that forages for contradictions and antinomie's, and that denies the centrality of such doctrines as vail to power. It is also opposed to interpretations of Nietzsche that see him as a "poet-philosopher" (and not a rigorous thinker), or as a merely destructive critic, or as a political and ideological mentor. In the end, the question of the warrant for Heidegger's explication and the grounds for his criticism of other interpretations must be settled on the basis of Nietzsche's texts - - and as indicated in the previous pages, Heidegger's explication is defensible on these grounds. It must be pointed out that as far as the task of explication is concerned, Heidegger is badly served by his own talk about ferreting out the "unthought" and the "unsaid ''Ta and about the "violence" of his interpretations (violence he can already refer to in 1935 as "proverbial"). 74 As often and as meticulously as he tries to explain these terms retroactively, they do, on the surface, invite the charge of arbitrary and unwarranted eisegesis. With regard to Nietzsche, Heidegger's attempt to state what the doctrines say is itself a task of considerable difficulty and intricacy because of the nature of Nietzsche's writings. But this part of his task is not "violent" even in his own sense; its warrant is always textual, and he simply tries to clarify what Nietzsche says. Heidegger's exegesis of texts results in interpretations of the doctrines that are not entirely novel or original - - a fitting result for an exegete. Unfolding the "unthought" and "unsaid" pertains more explicitly to those aspects of Heidegger's Nietzsche interpretation that I have tried to keep separate - - Nietzsche's relation to the tradition and his role as the philosopher of our time. Here necessarily we are on a different footing as regards warrant; Heidegger's specification of the "unthought" and "unsaid" 369

LAURENCE LAMPERT cannot be justified solely on the grounds of Nietzsche's texts nor can it be refuted solely on those grounds.
2. Nietzsche and the tradition : Heidegger's Nietzsche interpretation is

an integral part of his comprehensive interpretation of the Western tradition. Given the strength of his explication of Nietzsche's doctrines, it is worthwhile to point out that the comprehensive interpretation is not just a vision. It is composed of interpretations of many other philosophers that are as meticulous and extensive as his interpretations of Nietzsche. Any adequate assessment of the comprehensive interpretation would of course demand a review of its constituent parts. While that is impossible here, it is nevertheless important to consider the ways in which the comprehensive view involves the interpretation of Nietzsche. This involvement can be seen as twofold. In the first place, Nietzsche is seen as the fulfillment of the Western tradition. Here Heidegger's unique interpretation of Platonism is the critical issue for it is his peculiar understanding of Platonism that enables him to see Nietzsche as the culmination of the Platonic revolution. Secondly, Heidegger maintains that Nietzsche provides the final retrospective clarification of the tradition, the clarification that displays the hidden tendencies most indicative of its charactery 5 This clarification is provided not by Nietzsche's own incipient history of Western thoughff ~ but by his central doctrines, that is, precisely by those features which Nietzsche conceived to be a countermovement to all previous philosophy. Heidegger provides extensive evidence for these closely related claims about Nietzsche's place in the tradition - - the two volumes of Nietzsche are concerned with little else. The examples of will to power and nihilism have already been considered; these doctrines are fulfillments of what is already present in Nietzsche's predecessors and, as the final fruits, they indicate to retrospection the real nature of that from which they arose. There are many other specific examples that Heidegger considers - - Nietzsche's view of truth, ~ time, ~8 humanization, 79 subjectivism, *~ superman, 8~ - - for Heidegger the list is as long as the list of Nietzsche's doctrines. The particular examples and the general claims for which they are the evidence cannot be evaluated apart from a consideration of Nietzsche's predecessors and their doctrines. Nevertheless, the claim of fulfillment and the claim of retrospective 370

HEIDEGGER'S NIETZSCHE INTERPRETATION illumination seem to presuppose a broader concept of development - - a concept that unfortunately remains quite unclear. The implication of Heidegger's writings is that there is some kind of necessity that obtains in the unfolding of the basic doctrines throughout the history of Western thought - - that is, a necessity that obtains in the unfolding of the reality that these philosophical doctrines record, for the necessity resident in the history of philosophy is purely derivative. But what is that necessity ? Heidegger is fond of giving lists of the stages of the unfolding. For instance, he gives this list in discussing the various ways of taking the ground of the presencing of beings : ... as the ontic causation of the real, as the transcendental making possible of the objectivity of objects, as the dialectical mediation of the movement of the absolute Spirit, of the historical process of production, as the will to power positing values. 82 Here and elsewhere, the purported stages are clear. What is not at all clear is that they are stages, stages in any identifiable process. Heidegger has not been successful in clarifying the notion of necessary development that would render his lists into meaningful s e q u e n c e s . 83 Yet it is not surprising that no precise sense of necessary development has been forthcoming. To ask about the nature of this necessity is to ask about the nature of being that controls history's direction (about "the historicity of that which grants a possible history to philosophy"). ~4 For Heidegger, the nature of being is known only in the various historical stampings recorded in the history of philosophy. While he suggests that there may be "something all-pervading which pervades being's destiny from its beginning to its completion, ''~5 he is unable to say what it is. In the absence of any clear sense of the necessity resident in the tradition, how can Heidegger justify his teleological judgments that Nietzsche fulfills the tradition or retrospectively clarifies it ? Heidegger's writings on Nietzsche abound with judgments that Nietzsche "gathers together all the themes of Western thought"; that Nietzsche is the "completion" of the tradition, the last philosopher, the last possible philosopher.*% Surely the warrant for such judgments can only derive from a knowledge of the whole process as a process, from a knowledge of its principles of unfolding; that is, from a knowledge of the necessity that governs it. 371

3. Nietzsche as thinker: It is in Heidegger's later work that Nietzsche assumes an all-important place in the history of philosophy. He had not specifically been awarded that standing in Sein und Zeit (1927). In that work Heidegger was already convinced that the present task of philosophy required a rethinking of the history of philosophy, but the key figures were taken to be Plato, Aristotle, Descartes and Kant. The "dismantling T M of the philosophical tradition promised there did not specifically include Nietzsche. It is only after the "turn" in Heidegger's thought that Nietzsche is taken to be a crucial figure in the history of philosophy. However : Sein und Zeit itself can be read as Nietzschean in character with its emphasis on Dasein as the being, grounded in nothing, that grounds and determines the meaning of beings. Sein und Zeit itself continues the tradition of the primacy of man and, while it raises the question of being, it does so only as a determination of Dasein. 88 Nietzsche becomes a crucial subject in the history of philosophy only after the Nietzschean standpoint of Segn und Zeit has been abandoned, only after Nietzsche's position has been "lost" or overcome as a viable standpoint. After the turn, the task of rethinking the tradition remains but it now includes among its subjects the very standpoint from which the original rethinking was to take place - - and this standpoint above all is to be called into question. Coincident with this change in Nietzsche's place in Heidegger's thinking is a change in Heidegger's view of the historicity of philosophy : it is not only philosophy that is historical but the nature of reality itself. This change does not render the history of philosophy any less significant. Quite the contrary: the history of philosophy is now regarded as the record of the history of being. While a history of philosophy could be written treating it as a separate and independent sequence of ideas or perennial problems 8~ such a history would miss the decisive matter. Western thinkers are related to one another inasmuch as they respond individually to the unfolding history of being, a history which has a continuity and rationale, and which imparts such to its record, however unbeknownst to its recorders. In responding to the disdosure of being the thinker's thinking does not change the world and it does not change men. His thinking discloses what world and man have become. The agency of the change is quite independent of his efforts. Heidegger has moved far indeed from Nietzsche's view that the philosopher legislates meaning for a reality that lacks meaning altogether. Yet Heidegger maintains that even this Nietzschean view is a response to a


HEIDEGGER'S NIETZSCHE INTERPRETATION "call, ''9~ a response that discloses the nature of the relationship between man and things in the modern world. Heidegger's later view of Nietzsche as the philosopher of o~lr age surely arises in part at least from his own prior commitment to a fundamentally Nietzscheau position. Heidegger's later view interprets that commitment as an association - - since terminated - - with the whole tradition and with the present epoch. 91 That is, Heidegger's own experience with finding and losing Nietzsche is understood to have far greater significance than intellectual biography. As Heidegger later sees it, the way he had previously taken is the way the age has gone, and the way he now takes may, possibly, be the way the age will go. From this perspective Sein und Zeit is no mere book; it is an event in the history of being and Heidegger seems quite put out with critics who can't get that straight? 2 That is, now is no time to criticize Heidegger's task; now is the time to become fellow-workers and for this, the way through Sein und Zeit remains a necessity2 a That is, the way through Nietzsche remains a necessity. It remains questionable just how much Heidegger's early association with Nietzsche conditioned his later estimation of Nietzsche as the thinker of our age. It is also questionable just how much this later estimation conditioned the broader conclusion that the thinker as such discloses the nature of his contemporary world. But, whatever the etiology of this broader conclusion, its warrant is quite uncertain because it is in principle indemonstrable. Given Heidegger's historical relativism there is no way to test the daim that Plato's account of being is a historically fitting for his time as Nietzsche's is for ours - - we can have no direct experience of Plato's time that would enable us to evaluate the claim of fitness. We do, however, have direct experience of Nietzsche's time (let us grant for now that we are Nietzsche's metaphysical contemporaries) and if there is any warrant for Heidegger's broader conclusion his interpretation of Nietzsche should show what that warrant is. Thus, while it may be unfruitful to. wonder about the degree to which Heidegger's association with Nietzsche led him to. his view of the thinker's role, it is evident that Nietzsche alone can provide a test for that view. To be sure the test is inconclusive; even if Heidegger is right about Nietzsche that is no proof that he is right about thinkers as a whole and even if Heidegger is wrong about Nietzsche that is no proof that he is wrong about the thinker's task as a whole. Nevertheless, the warrant for the general claim about the thinker's activity of disclosure, insofar as it is testable 373

LAURENCE LAMPERT at all, is testable only with respect to the specific claims about Nietzsche as the thinker whose doctrines disclose our present way of being? 4 Heidegger does not give much guidance on hove to= test these specific claims. He does not discuss the historically unique commitments and conditions of contemporary man with a view to demonstrating that they exemplify Nietzsche's metaphysics. While maintaining that technology is characteristic of our historically unique conception of being, Heidegger does not try to show in detail how technology exemplifies Nietzsche's metaphysics, although he does regularly reiterate the claim that technology is the final fruit of a will to power that aims to subdue the world? ~ All important to the specific claim about Nietzsche and the present - - and to the general claims about the role of thinker - - is a clarification of the relationship that obtains between, on the one hand, a way of being and a way of taking being and, on the other hand, the everyday cares and practices of human beings.

1 T h e following a b b r e v i a t i o n s will b e u s e d in the f o o t n o t e s to refer to N i e t z s c h e ' s works. All references to N i e t z s c h e ' s w o r k s are by section n u m b e r s . BGE Beyond Good and Evil, trans. W a i t e r K a u f m a n n (New York : V i n t a g e Books, I966). EH Ecce Homo, in On the Genealogy of Morals and Ecce Homo, trans. W a i t e r K a u f m a n n (New York : V i n t a g e Books, I967). GM On the Genealogy of Morals, op. cir. WP The Will to Power, trans. W a l t e r K a u f m a n n (New York : R a n d o m House, 1967). The following a b b r e v i a t i o n s will be u s e d in the footnotes to refer to H e i d e g g e r ' s works. N u m bers refer to pe,ges in the edition cited. Holz HoIzwege (Frankfurt a m M a i n : K l o s t e r m a n n , i965). ID Identity and Difference, trans. Joan S t a m b a u g h (New York : H a r p e r and Row, 1969). IM An Introduction to Metaphysics, trans. Ralph M a n n h e i m (New Y o r k : Doubleday, Anchor, I961_). Letter " L e t t e r on H u m a n i s m , " Philosophy in the Twentieth Century, ed. W i l l i a m Barrett and H e n r y D. A i k e n , v o l u m e 3 (New York : R a n d o m H o u s e , I962). N Nietzsche, 2 v o l u m e s (Pfullingen : N e s k e , 196a). Plato " P l a t o ' s Doctrine of T r u t h , " Barrett a n d A i k e n , op. cir. TB On Time and Being, trans. Joan S t a m b a u g h (New York : H a r p e r and Row, ~972). US Unterwegs zur Sprache (Pfullingen : N e s k e , x959). VA Vortriige und Aufs~tze, 3 v o l u m e s (Pfullingen : N e s k e , ~967). WCT What is Called Thinking ? trans. Fred D. W e i c k and J. Glenn G r a y (New York : H a r p e r and Row, :[968). WT What is a Thing ? trans. W.B. Barton and V e r a D e u t s c h (Chicago : Regnery, I967). 2 The Gay Science, w ~4 3 Holz I97. See also M a r t i n H e i d e g g e r , On the Way to Language, trans. Peter D. H e r t z (New York : H a r p e r and Row, ~97~), P. 39.





4 As an example see TB 59 f., where Heidegger says that so far from being grea.ter than philosophy just because it apprehends, as p h i l o s o p h y cannot, the nature of philosophy, his t h i n k i n g is less than p h i l o s o p h y beca~use it is merely preparatory. 5 N I, 475. 6 W C T 76 f.; N I I , 484; ID 48. 7 W C T 44-47, 75-8x, 164-x66; N I I , 43 f.; N I, 5o3; VA I, x ~ . 8 N I I , 22. 9 N I, 585; see also VA I, xx4. l o N I, 492; see also W C T 5z, 75. 11 M a r t i n Heidegger, Wegmarken (Frankfurt am Main : Klostermann, 1967), pp. 252 f.; Holz a941:2 BGE w 259. 1~ See N I, 479. 14 Holz x94. 15 N I, xz-xS, 70-79; W T 47-49. 16 N.I, 463 f.; N I I , 14 ff., 287; Holz 218 f. 17 Holz z~3. 18 Holz z~6 f. 19 N I, 7z. 20 N I, 76. 21 W C T 72;; N I, x7; N I I , 79. 22 W a l t e r K a u f m a n n , Nietzsche: Philosopher Psychologist Anti-Christ~ 2;rd ed., York : Vintage Book, 1968), pp. 200-207. 28 Ibid., p. 4zo.



24 The significance of the u n p u b l i s h e d notes is reduced to almost zero by R.J. Hollingdale, Nietzsehe : The Man and His Philosophy (Baton R o u g e : Louisiana StaIe U n i v e r s i t y Press, 3t965) who regards everything not included in the p u b l i s h e d works as " r e j e c t e d " by Nietzsche or " a b a n d o n e d , " (pp. 260-272) as if Nietzsche's breakdown came at that opportune m o m e n t when he had p u b l i s h e d everything he wanted to say. For H o l l i n g d a l e the u n p u b l i s h e d notes consist of m a t e r i a l abandoned for one of two r e a s o n s : because treated more fully in the published works and hence superfluous; because not paralleled in the published works and hence rejected. The notes on will to power as a metaphysical principle are taken as examples of the second kind of material and that Nietzsche " a b a n d o n e d " these specula,tions is for HoUingdale a testament to his good sense and even to his saality. As an example H o l l i n g d a l e quotes w xo67 (dated 1885) from the collection The Will to Power whose pen u l t i m a t e sentence runs : " t h e world is will to power and n o t h i n g b e s i d e s . " For Hollingdale this is a " r e j e c t e d " extension to the " f u r t h e s t h e a v e n s " of a view that in the published works is confined to " i n d u c t i o n from observation.'" U n f o r t u n a t e l y for H o l l i n g d a l e ' s case, the gist of w Io67 appears in Beyond Good and Evil w 2;6, published the following year (x886). 25 W P w 6~9, 655, Io67. 26 W P w 634, 62;6, 688, 692, 693, all dated March-June, 1888. 27 BGE w 36, z59. 28 EH Part 3, On Beyond Good and Evil, w ~. 29 BGE Part ~. 30 N I I , Ix, 6~. 31 Explications of the doctrine of will to power that are similar to Heidegger's are f o u n d in A r t h u r C. Danto, Nietzsche As Philosopher (New York : M a c m i l l a n Co., ~968), pp. z~4-z28, see especially p. zl5; and George A. Morgan, What Nietzsehe Means (New Y o r k : Harper and Row, I965 [194x]), pp. 266-290. 32 In a broader sense Nietzsche is taken by Heidegger to be the f u l f i l l m e n t of the whole metaphysical tradition b e g i n n i n g with Plato - - as will be discussed in the section on nihilism. 8~ N I I , 2;6. a4 W C T 9 ~ f.; VA I, ~o5 f.; see also N I, 73. 35 W C T 90. 36 W C T 59.


~LAURENCE 37 as a9 4o 41 42 4a ,t4 45


W C T 57. TB 57; N I, x3. US x3x. See e.g. G M , " P r e f a c e " w 5; P a r t x, w ~2; P a r t 2, w z4; Part 3, w ' 4 . W P w z2; see also w 585 B. WPw W P w xz A. W P w 69 note; 585 A. E.g., EH P a r t 3, w s,; O n The Brth of Tragedy, w 1, z; The Antichrist, w 6, 58; W P w 15z-x54,


~6 W P w ~5, 2F, 55. .47 E.g., W ~ " ' P r e f a c e . " 48 Holz 2ol; N II, 3a f., 9~. 4'.9 Holz 206; N II, 6o, 92, 277 f. 5O W P w 51 W P w xz A. 52 N II, 82; see also pp. 64, 67, 70, 80. sa W P w A. s4 W P w ss W P w 2s.
56 W P w 22.

s7 W P w 585 B 58 N I I , 69, 80 f.; Holz 2o8. s0 N II, 94; Holz 207. 60 W P w N If, 95. 61 N I I , 87. 62 N I I , 3 5 f 6~ Holz 206, aog. Albert M a g n u s in Heidegger's Metahistory of Philosophy (The H a g u e : Nijhoff, 197o) u s e s H e i d e g g e r ' s interpretation of N i e t z s c h e ' s v i e w of n i h i l i s m as an example of H e i d e g g e r ' s technique of r e a d i n g his o w n views into other philosophers (p. 98). It is not a good example. W h i l e H e i d e g g e r m a y be guilty of the charge in other cases he is not in this case. W h a t M a g n u s really objects to is H e i d e g g e r ' s claim that for Nietzsche n i h i l i s m " r e p r e s e n t s the basic process of W e s t e r n h i s t o r y " (p. ~oo). M a g n u s doubts that Nietzsche conceived of n i h i l i s m as the " i n n e r l o g i c " of W e s t e r n history as H e i d e g g e r claims, but the " P r e f a c e " of The Will to Power should be e n o u g h to abolish that doubt. The' m a i n w e a k n e s s of M a g n u s ' s criticism h o w e v e r is t h a t while h e quotes N i e t z s c h e ' s s t a t e m e n t s about the a m b i g u i t y of nihil i s m he proceeds to base his critique of H e i d e g g e r ' s interpretation on a single p a s s a g e that refers to a single aspect of n i h i l i s m : " W h a t does n i h i l i s m m e a n ?... T h a t the h i g h e s t values become d e v a l u e d " (WP w 2). For M a g n u s the death of God is the essence of nihilism in Nietzsche. This neglects especially N i e t z s c h e ' s prospect for an a f f i r m a t i v e n i h i l i s m that responds to the d e s p a i r of the death of God. Also, it neglects N i e t z s c h e ' s own historical analysis of the roots of n i h i l i s m and his c o m m e n t s as to the n i h i l i s m of beliefs themselves. Albert C a m u s " account also neglects the a m b i g u i t y that Nietzsche fincIs intrinsic to nihilism, b u t h i s account errs on the other e x t r e m e : C a m u s takes N i e t z s c h e ' s view of n i h i l i s m to be restricted to traditional beliefs themselves. Christianity for instance is said to be nihilistic because it imposes " a n i m a g i n a r y m e a n i n g on l i f e . " Also, " S o c i a l i s m is nihilistic, in the henceforth precise sense that Nietzsche confers on the word. A nihilist is not one who believes in n o t h i n g , but one who does not believe in w h a t e x i s t s " (The Rebel, trans. A n thony Bower (New Y o r k : V i n t a g e Books, 1956), p. 69). Both of these interpretations of N i e t z s c h e ' s view of nihilism fail to do justice to it because they see it as h a v i n g only one precise sense w h e r e a s it h a s a n u m b e r of precise senses. A n explication of N i e t z s e h e ' s view of n i h i l i s m that is quite s i m i l a r to H e i d e g g e r ' s appears in Robert C. Solomon, " N i e t z s c h e , N i h i l i s m and M o r a l i t y , " Nietzsche: A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. Robert C. Solomon (New Y o r k : A n c h o r Books, x973), PP. 2o2-225, especially 204-209. For a t h o n g h t f u l and





sensitive r e a d i n g of Nietzsche that on this a n d other points o w e s m u c h to H e i d e g g e r see George G r a n t , Time as History (Toronto : C a n a d i a n Broadcasting Corporation, :~969). 64 I M 166 f.; N I I , 97. 65 N I I , ~75-192. ,66 Friedrich Nietzsche, Schopenhauer as Educator, trans. J a m e s H. Hillesheim and Malcolm R. S i m p s o n ( C h i c a g o : Regnery, ~965), w 5. 67 TB 67. ,68 Plato, 263. 6'9 Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols in The Portable Nietzsche, ed. W a l t e r K a u f m a n n (New Y o r k : V i k i n g Press, 1954), pp. 481-484; I M 29-32. 70 N I, 435. 71 W C T 48-56. z2 The " w a r r a n t " for H e i d e g g e r ' s t h i n k i n g h a s often been demanded. See M a r t i n Heidegger, Poetryp Language and Thought, trans. Albert H o f s t a d e r (New Y o r k : H a r p e r and Row, z97~), p. ~85. H e h a s been frequently criticized for not p r o v i d i n g criteria b y which his conclusions could be m e a s u r e d . See for example H a n s Jonas, " H i e d e g g e r and T h e o l o g y , " in H a n s Jonas, The Phenomenon of Life (New Y o r k : Delta, x966), pp. 235-26x; W e r n e r M a r x , Heidegger and the Tradition~ trans. Theodore Kisiel and M u r r a y Greene ( E v a n s t o n : N o r t h western U n i v e r s i t y Press, x97x), pp. 246 ff; Laszlo Versenyi, Heidegger, Being and Truth (New H a v e n : Yale U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1965), pp. 16x ff.; Stanley Rosen, Nihilism: A Philosophical Essay ( N e w H a v e n : Yale U n i v e r s i t y Press, ~969), Pp. 94-I39. The question of w a r r a n t is peculiarly subtle because H e i d e g g e r ' s t h i n k i n g s u b m i t s the traditional grounds of truth and validity to a s e a r c h i n g criticism, a criticism that w o u n d s f r o m behind by f i n d i n g the g r o u n d s of those g r o u n d s in a historically relative disclosure of being. For H e i d e g g e r , p r e l i m i n a r y to fhe question of w a r r a n t for his own t h i n k i n g are the questions : w h a t is the n a t u r e of w a r r a n t ? whence does a n y way of t h i n k i n g t a k e its w a r r a n t ? A s is fitting, H e i d e g g e r offers an invitation where the w a r r a n t is demanded. I m m o d e s t as the invitation m a y appear, embedded as it is in ponderous talk about destiny a n d d a n g e r and the loss of e v e r y t h i n g worthwhile, it is after all simply a n invitation to t h i n k about the m a t t e r s raised by H e i d e g g e r ' s thinking. This t h i n k i n g is concerned with essentially three m a t t e r s : r e t h i n k i n g the tradition, discerning the unique character of the present age, a a d indicating the features of a n e w beginning. W i t h respect to the first two in particular, Nietzsche is the crucial figure, and while the question of the w a r r a n t for H e i d e g g e r ' s t h i n k i n g m a y arise m o s t acutely with respect to the third, nevertheless that question arises forcibly e n o u g h with respect to his Nietzsche interpretation. 78 E.g., ID 48; W C T 76; Plato 251. 74 I M :~47. 7,5 TB 57. 76 See e.g. " H o w the True W o r l d Finally Became a F a b l e , " Twilight of the Idols, in K a u f m a n n , Portable Nietzsche, pp. 485 f77 N I I , ~89-202. 78 V A I 93-:tI8. 79 N I, 14o-i5o. 8o N II, 45o-454. 81 W C T 78-8~. 82 TB 56; see also TB 9; I D 66. 88 I D 67 f.; TB 52, 56; M a r t i n H e i d e g g e r , What is Philosophy ?, trans W i l l i a m K l u b a c k and Jean T. Wilde ( L o n d o n : Vision Press, x958), p. 62. s4 TB 60 S5 ID 67. ~6 See e.g. W C T 48-56; N I, 473-48~:. 87 M a r t i n H e i d e g g e r , Sein und Zeit (Tiibingen : N i e m e y e r , I967) , sec. 6. 88 H e i d e g g e r h a s attempted to u n d e r m i n e such an interpretation of Sein und Zeit by g i v i n g his own retrospective interpretation of s o m e key p a s s a g e s (see e.g. Letter). But, as Karl Lowith points out, it is scarcely m e r e m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g that so m a n y of those who heard 377

H e i d e g g e r ' s lectures and read Sein und ~eit understood h i m differently f r o m the way he later c a m e to u n d e r s t a n d himself. Karl L6with, Heidegger: Denker in didrftiger Zeit (G6ttingen: V a n d e n h o e c k & Ruprecht, ~965), p. zI. 8'9 H e i d e g g e r ' s early notion of " r e p e t i t i o n " could be seen as such a historical effort. In Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, trans. J a m e s S. Churchill (Bloomington, Ind. : I n d i a n a U n i v e r s i t y Press, I965 [1st G e r m a n ed. I928]) for instance, he specifically conceives his own t a s k as a repetition of K a n t ' s (pp. 208, zzl), and Sein und Zeit itself is u n d e r s t o o d as a repetition of the battle of the g i a n t s in ancient philosphy (p. 208). There is no indication here that the u n d e r l y i n g issue is an event in the history of being. 90 W C T 46, 79 f. 91 A question that arises in precisely this context i s : how does H e i d e g g e r ' s association with National Socialism i m p i n g e on his association with Nietzsche a n d vice v e r s a ? W h i l e N a t i o n a I Socialism w a s not Nietzschean in w a y s it m i g h t h a v e i m a g i n e d , it w a s Nietzschean in w a y s it did not i m a g i n e , w a y s it s h a r e d w i t h all contemporary ideologies (IM 5o ff., 166 f.). A t least H e i d e g g e r can generalize the N i e t z s c h e a n in this w a y after his dissociation f r o m N a t i o n a l Socialism, a f t e r the t u r n in his thinking, after Nietzsche is seen as the philosopher one needs to lose. It is impossible to say h o w H e i d e g g e r conceived t h e relations between h i m s e l f , Nietzsche and National Socialism prior to these events as there is no published record. 02 M a r t i n H e i d e g g e r , " T h e W a y Back into the G r o u n d of M e t a p h y s i c s , " trans. W a l t e r K a u f m a n n , in Barret and Aiken, Philosophy in the Twentieth Century, p. 215. 93 M a r t i n H e i d e g g e r , " P r e f a c e " to W i l l i a m J. Richardson, H e i d e g g e r : Through Phenomenofogy to Thought (The H a g u e : Nijhoff, I963), p. xviiL o4 P r e s u m a b l y , g i v e n the fact that the thinker responds to w h a t he is g i v e n to think, we can also test the claim i n the case of H e i d e g g e r ' s constructive t h i n k i n g of the n e w b e g i n n i n g . T h i s b e g i n n i n g m u s t be an event already occurring and hence accessible to our reflection as it is to H e i d e g g e r ' s . 95 I D 66; W C T 57-64; TB 55-59.