Log24

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Misquoting Nietzsche

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 11:01 AM

Jim Holt in tomorrow’s New York Times

“Allow me to quote Nietzsche
(although I know that will be considered
by some to be in bad taste):

‘As the circle of science grows larger,
it touches paradox at more places.'”

A possible source for this misquotation—
Harvard University Press

IMAGE- Hilary Putnam misquoting Nietzsche on 'the circle of science'

A more accurate quotation—

Anyone who has ever experienced the pleasure of Socratic insight and felt how, spreading in ever-widening circles, it seeks to embrace the whole world of appearances, will never again find any stimulus toward existence more violent than the craving to complete this conquest and to weave the net impenetrably tight. To one who feels that way, the Platonic Socrates will appear as the teacher of an altogether new form of “Greek cheerfulness” and blissful affirmation of existence that seeks to discharge itself in actions— most often in maieutic and educational influences on noble youths, with a view to eventually producing a genius.

But science, spurred by its powerful illusion, speeds irresistibly towards its limits where its optimism, concealed in the essence of logic, suffers shipwreck. For the periphery of the circle of science has an infinite number of points; and while there is no telling how this circle could ever be surveyed completely, noble and gifted men nevertheless reach, e’er half their time and inevitably, such boundary points on the periphery from which one gazes into what defies illumination. When they see to their horror how logic coils up at these boundaries and finally bites its own tail— suddenly the new form of insight breaks through, tragic insight  which, merely to be endured, needs art as a protection and remedy.

— Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy , translated by Walter Kaufmann (Modern Library)

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