Old Philosophy Final

Topics: Ethics, Morality, Immanuel Kant Pages: 3 (790 words) Published: June 19, 2013
Nietzsche vs Socrates.

In The Problem of Socrates, Nietzsche criticizes Socrates and his notion of supremacy of reason. As Socrates implored the youth of Athens to pursue true virtue and justice through autonomic reasoning, Nietzsche points out the comicality of Socrates' attempt to transcend the values of the state since - as Nietzsche sees - all political ideals are always already community-based and that any campaign to transcend one's community altogether is doomed to failure. He paints a clownish picture of Socrates in which he's alone, trying to plant a seed of doubt in a community in which individuals have already adapted to their historical community's ideals and traditions.

Chiefly, Nietzsche believes that Socrates' notion of supremacy of reason is just a euphemism for his rationale which is as tyrannous as the state he opposes. Socrates believed that truth was accessible through reason (and through reason alone) while Nietzsche would have argued against the whole idea of truth let alone the possibility of knowing it. Reason was, for him, corrupted by our own will to power—the fundamental principle of human actions—and thus, any truth claim would inevitably be compromised by that principle.

Socrates, for Nietzsche, would simply be another human attempting to impose his own subjective viewpoint/truth on us disguising it as Truth. It is impossible for anyone to transcend or to ignore this powerful force. We may well think we have no ulterior motives but in reality we are simply expressing our own ego and our desire to dominate those around us. Thus all systems of knowledge are merely masks for the imposition of one view on the subjectivity of the individual.  

Ayer and Stevenson

Ayer and Stevenson supported the idea of ethical emotivisms; understandings of the meanings of moral terms and functions of moral judgments. Both believed that to make a moral judgment was to express one’s emotions and invite others to share them; not to state moral...
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