In the Will to Power Nietzsche claims
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In the Will to Power, Nietzsche claims:
The will to power interprets (-it is a question of interpretation when an organ is constructed): it defines limits, determines degrees, variations of power. Mere variations of power could not feel themselves to be such: there must be present something that wants to grow and interprets the value of whatever else wants to grow. Equal in that- In fact, interpretation is itself a means of becoming master of something. (The organic process constantly presupposes interpretations.)
Part I of this paper unpacks this passage concerning the nature of interpretation to reach the crux of Nietzsche's argument. Part II then contextualizes this argument with respect to his claims regarding perspectivism and interpretation. Finally Part III raises the most plausible critique of Nietzsche's claim of perspectivism as possible responses by Nietzsche in his defense.
In the passage above, Nietzsche claims that it is not human beings which interpret, but rather, it is "the will to power [that] interprets." As discussed in lecture, the organic process which presupposes interpretation is essentially the very process of adaptation by which an organism tries to fit itself into its environment and to other species around it, such as its predators and its prey. This process is a way in which the organism physiologically interprets the world. So interaction is the fundamental phenomenon of the forces that make up the will to power and these interactions in so far as they are systematically centered around a particular center of power, can be called a perspective or interpretation which that center of force gives of its surrounding environment. And what we think of as this specifically human interpretation is only the conscious psychological realization of this much more fundamental law of nature. Thus it is the will to power that interpreter!
s, and it does so by appropriating, that is, knowledge is a process of appropriation. To understand what Nietzsche means by appropriation here, we can look to section 515 where he states "not 'to know' but to schematize-to impose upon chaos as much regularity and for as our practical needs require." In this statement, Nietzsche claims that interpretation is "to impose upon chaos as much regularity and form as our practical needs require." So for the plant, or some animal that preys on its environment, they will distinguish only between things that are useful and that which is not useful to the individual. The predator has no sense of distinction between this or that individual fly; one fly is all the same because it is simply food. However, in treating these different bits of prey as equal, it schematizes and organizes, and simplifies the world for itself. That is, once we start to recognize them as equal-this is the same as that-we begin to categorize them accordingly. !
Sluga illustrates how as human beings we say: "that this person which I just met a couple days ago is still the same person, although he has changed in slight ways, maybe he was wearing a cap back then." As human beings, we recognize there is a difference, but the difference is not important to us. In this process of equalization, man imposes schema and order on the world; and that is really the nature of interpretation and the will to power.
II Contextualization of Nietzsche's Argument
Having completed my analysis of Nietzsche's discussion in section 643, I would now like to move on to contextualize the implications of this claim with respect to perspectivism. To begin, section 636 we see how Nietzsche connects the concepts of perspective and interpretation with the concept of the will to power. According to Nietzsche,
Physicists believe in a "true world" in their own fashion: a firm systematization of atoms in necessary motion, the same for all beings-so for them the "apparent world" is reduced to the side of universal and universally necessary being which is accessible to every being in its own way (accessible and also already adapted- made "subjective").
Physicist, in other words, are inclined towards a kind of metaphysics which says that there is a true reality different from the way it looks to us, namely, for physicist, it is the reality of atoms and their properties. Physicists believe that this picture of reality is the
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Friedrich Nietzsche, Will to power, Perspectivism, The Will to Power, Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, Relationship between Friedrich Nietzsche and Max Stirner
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