Year of Publication

2016

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Dr. Arnold Farr

Abstract

The nineteenth-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche is notoriously a misogynist according to many feminists. In parallel, Nietzsche’s theory of value, perspectivism, is relativist according to many philosophers. However, I propose a counter-reading of both Nietzsche’s comments regarding women and his comments regarding perspective in which I interpret Nietzsche as neither misogynistic nor relativistic. I adopt a stance which is non-apologist, in that I do not merely wash my hands of Nietzsche’s apparently sexist remarks about women as Walter Kaufmann does, for example. Rather I demonstrate that Nietzsche is performing a polemical attack on a particular kind of naïve feminism which only seeks certain privileges for women in principle without determining whether those privileges are valuable for the empowerment of any actual women.

I argue that Nietzsche’s perspectivism and his remarks about women are explicitly and inextricably intertwined because of his repeated and explicit connections between ideas of women and ideas of truth. Thus any reading of Nietzsche’s remarks about women must be tied to a reading of Nietzsche’s remarks about truth and other axiological judgments made from necessarily human perspectives. Judgments made from the inhuman perspective of ‘objectivity’ fail to obtain regarding truth or women. Because Nietzsche’s perspectivism advocates a non-relativist plurality of interpretations about truth and hence also truths about women, I argue that Nietzsche’s perspectivism actually provides a feminist argument.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/ETD.2016.503

Share

COinS