On Truth and Lie in a Rhetorical Sense: Semantic Perils in Nietzschean Thought
journal contributionposted on 21.05.2017 by David Lane
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A dominant theme for Friedrich Nietzsche, one that he often employs to punctuate and dramatise key theoretical concerns, is the distinction between truth and lie. While Nietzsches truth/lie thematic finds expression through a number of concepts on the nature of human deceit, its role within his philosophy may be organised in accordance with three major fields of investigation: morality (where the lie is exaggerated and polemicised), the critique of knowledge (which advances the notion of truth as fiction), and aesthetics (where the lie is recast into a positive sense).
Although this tripartite framework is heuristic, its value for the exami-nation of the truth/lie thematic is twofold: it clarifies the essential problems in Nietzsches philosophical treatment and application of this theme which upon a cursory analysis appear confused and unproductive while at the same time providing a perspective that foregrounds the cumulative effect of his thought a dissolution of the conventional semantic integrity distinguishing truth from lie. This paper examines the semantic innovation in Nietzsches truth/lie thematic, an approach that calls into question the positions of interpretation adopted in his philosophy.