James Brusseau    


Decadence of the French Nietzsche
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Dignity Pleasures Vulgarity


Decadence of the French Nietzsche


Introduction to Decadence of the French Nietzsche


Essay: What is Decadent Philosophy?



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Thought can be evaluated in terms of the truths produced. (Are the conclusions persuasive? Useful? Explanatory? Predictive?) The best thinking, consequently, is just the one producing the time’s privileged kind of knowledge most efficiently. In short: the reason we are thinking is to discover truths.


Decadence: truth claims get evaluated in terms of subsequent thought generated. The best truth/essay/book/video doesn’t settle questions, but stimulates still more thought, or writing, or speech. In short: the reason we have truths is to stimulate thinking.

(The best philosopher wouldn’t be the one who’s right, but the one who inspires the most interest from others, the most citations and so on. Of course being right may help to generate attention, but that’s accidental, only one several viable strategies.)


The history of truth itself runs from universal truths (Platonic traditions), to perspectival or weak truths (Nietzschean traditions), to decadent truths: emptied of all knowledge (even if they happen to be right), these understandings are entirely dedicated to accelerating subsequent thought.


The history of thought itself runs from base servility (the best thinking is the one eliminating the need for itself by culminating in universal truth, Platonism), to dialectical servility (thinking serves truth, but refuses the extinction of universal knowledge, Nietzscheanism), to decadence, where thought overthrows truth’s independent value, and incorporates knowledge into its own expression and acceleration.


The claim in Decadence of the French Nietzsche is not one about historical periods (Platonism followed by Nietzscheanism will lead to decadence), but that an esoteric vein of decadence runs through philosophy’s history.

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