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Windelband History involves fundamentally different standards of judgment than the natural sciences. Accordingly, Geisteswissenschaften ought not try to emulate Naturwissenschaften with respects to aims, methods, or standards of success. Cohen The value of historiography is primarily cultural and formative. The history of Jewish culture in particular teaches us a great deal that can stand as a bulwark to the statist materialism of the Marxists. Rickert A Judgments about historical objects are necessarily informed by a particular historian's values.

B The values that inform historical judgment are universal. Consequently the writing of history remains objective and valid for all. Similarities and Differences with Nietzsche. Nietzsche raised and formed his own views on each of these themes. In fact, these four theses are among the most important for Nietzsche. Although he and the Neo-Kantians have a common remote ancestor in Kant, and a common proximate one in Lange, neither can be thought to have been substantially influenced by the other.

Nevertheless, Nietzsche generally agrees with Lange's epistemological remark 1 and extends this to the writing of history. Windelband's distinction between Geistes - and Naturwissenschaften 2 would be accepted by Nietzsche insofar as one's model of natural science is exhausted by the positivistic. For Nietzsche, however, it is not. Nietzsche leaves room for a kind of science that would be consistent with historiography. Cohen's Jewish history 3 , which on the surface seems wholly antithetical to Nietzsche's critiques of spirituality generally, and of Jewish spirituality specifically, is something with which Nietzsche would have had a limited but definite sympathy.

Nietzsche would have agreed with Rickert's position 4a on the constitutive nature of values in history, but both anticipated and rejected his claim 4b about the universality of historical values. Each of these points deserves considerably more analysis than I can offer here; and so in what follows, I present only summaries of Nietzsche's positions on these Neo-Kantian theses. In the case of the first point, Nietzsche's own view of epistemology, especially in his earlier years, has been shown to have been foundationally influenced by Lange.

Philosophical investigation must begin with epistemological reflection, but it cannot start with a purely theoretical transcendental deduction of the conditions of the possibility of experience.

Nietzsche's "The Use And Abuse Of History"

Lange did not apply his naturalistic deduction to the realm of history, however great his own contribution to Ideensgeschichte. No two designations of kings have the exact same predicate extensions, nor do any two battles: identifying them with a single word is, strictly speaking, false: an identification of two things that are not identical. It should, however, admit that the status of its descriptive designations cannot be that of referential denotation of real objects.

A historiographer [ Geschichtsschreiber ] has to do, not with what actually happened, but only with events supposed to have happened: [ All historians [ Historiker ] speak of things which have never existed except in representation [ Vorstellung ]. The causal links between two alleged historical 'objects' or 'events' is a key case in point. First, realist historiographers identify loosely connected phenomena under single names so that they can be inserted in an alleged causal relationship.

Second, they attribute causal relationships where none can be experienced directly and thereby confirmed or disconfirmed. Third, they presume both of these mind-generated representations as referring to a reality independent of the mind. Only symbolic representations can be cognized.

Causality, too, is not 'in' the things-themselves, but a useful fiction ascribed by the human mind to make manageable the otherwise inscrutable associations among the phenomena under investigation. For the 'in-itself' there is nothing at all like 'causal association', 'necessity', or 'psychological un-freedom', since the 'effect' does not follow 'from the cause', no 'law' rules over it.

One ought not conclude that historiography should hereby cease to exist, for Nietzsche, but that a certain modesty should be involved in recognizing the essentially subjective element in "Geschichtsschreibung": that the human mind, and all the minds of all the historians accordingly, cannot reach either objects or their associations 'in-themselves', but can prescribe meaningful symbols for communicating various intentions. If this true of human thought generally, then it follows for thought about history specifically. The next point of contact with Neo-Kantian philosophy of history concerns Windelband's claim 2 that not only the methods but also the standards of judgment within historiography are irresolvably different than that of natural science insofar as the latter deals with nomothetic deductions and the former with idiographic descriptions.

Nietzsche shares with Windelband the critique of methodological identity of the sciences purported by positivism. History, for both, is valuable and instructive despite its inability to prove or demonstrate by means of logical deduction from universal laws. Part of the reason for this involves Nietzsche's adoption of Lange's critical realism.

A History of Philosophy - 69 Nietzsche and Introduction to Phenomenology

Another part involves an argument closer to Windelband's nomothetic-idiographic distinction: history should treat particularity as particularity, rather than regard particulars as mere instances of universals from which to deduce historical 'necessities'. What inconsistency is there after all between the activities of man and the course of events?

I am particularly struck by the fact that historians [ In other disciplines, generalizations are the crucial factor since they contain the laws. But if such assertions as that cited are meant to be valid laws, then we could reply that the historian's work is wasted. For whatever truth is left in such statements, after subtracting that mysterious and irreducible residue we mentioned earlier, is obvious and even trivial since it is self-evident to anyone with the slightest range of experience. That the logical compulsion of both the natural and cultural sciences resides in its capacity for nomothetic deduction is a view held by positivist historical theorists from Comte to Buckle to Hempel.


But whereas Windelband rarely doubted whether natural science was exhausted by a combination of materialist ontology and positivist logic, there is a complex ambivalence in Nietzsche's attitude about science. Nietzsche held a similar attitude with respect to history and historians. The same goes for historians who seek to emulate the 'objectivity' of the natural sciences, principal among them the Berlin Historical Schools representatives: Ranke, Savigny, Droysen, as well as Henry Thomas Buckle and Richard Bentley, in England.

Achievements and qualities have to be assessed, and the assessor has to stand above what he assesses. On the other hand, the spirit of good science looks very much like that of good history: an acknowledgment of the subjective factors that color their judgments about the world, a recognition that descriptions can never be thought to really map onto the world, and a modesty about the universality and necessity of one's explanations.

Philosophy of History

Nietzsche agrees with Windelband, then, insofar as he thinks history properly practiced cannot be subsumed by the methods or standards of positive natural science; but insofar as he denies that positivism exhausts the possibilities of either science or history, his distinction between them does not amount to an unbridgeable opposition. The issue of objectivity brings us to Cohen's contention 3 that historiography should be marshaled for its transformative powers in enlivening a people and for resisting the anti-cultural statists who have used historiography as a tool to advance a nationalist power-grab masquerading as social compassion.

To say that Nietzsche did not advocate a specifically Jewish-spiritual rebirth of culture is only too obvious. He writes, "The question of the degree to which life requires the service of history at all, however, is one of the supreme questions and concerns in regard to the health of a man, a people or a culture.

Practiced properly, history for both is an essential tool for life affirmation. There are three primary historical attitudes Nietzsche lists in his "Nutzen und Nachtheile": the monumental, the antiquarian, and the critical. None of them is an 'objective' writer of history. Each of these types bring to the past their own desires, values, and drives.

Objectivity and justice have nothing to do with one another.


The antiquarian historian does definite service to life insofar as he seeks to preserve and revere the otherwise forgotten aspects of the past; but by always looking backwards, away from present-day concerns, he can also 'mummify' life. The critical historian turns her eye against any tradition to call into question the historical foundations of our long-held values; yet, for her service to life in clearing away the old for the sake of the new, the critical historian can disavow too much, to the point that even a society's healthiest values are devalued.

For all three types, whether they use history 'well' is not a matter of whether they 'get their facts straight', but of the degree to which their activity serves life or hinders it. Cohen's own historical reflections tell the story of the struggles and overcomings of his Jewish people. As such Cohen is no objective historical scientist either, never dealing critically with sources like the philologist, never trying to prove or predict like Buckle or Comte, never trying to scruple out the metaphysical riddle behind the "Weltprozess" like Hegel or Marx.

Although coldly calculating in his logic and epistemology, from his writings on Judaism spring alternating spells of hope, lament, and pride. To be sure, his history is selective.

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It speaks of the 'important' and 'formative' moments of Jewish traditions, and such moments are not valuable in and of themselves. They acquire value only insofar as there are historians and audiences who value them in the present. Cohen looks to the past insofar and indeed only insofar as it more deeply roots his conviction of his people's indispensable value over history. And he thinks that by doing so, he will help his contemporaries to develop a healthy respect for their past, to take courage that knowledge of what one has gone through can gird his people for what is to come.

Nietzsche's investigation into what 'drives' an historian to represent history in the particular way he or she does leads to a natural comparison with Heinrich Rickert's conviction 4a that values inform an historian's account of the past. Nietzsche's early tripartite division between kinds of historians and his later, more fully developed theory of perspectivism both hold that values color an historian's judgment. When we wonder why history unfolds as it does, our queries are not pure, speculative attempts to uncover facts.

Our inquiries are value-driven. Their resolutions need not demonstrate anything logically, but must satisfy the drives that generated the initial curiosity. A historian cannot set out with a rational commitment to 'choose' to be a critical or antiquarian historian, any more than a knower can choose to represent the world spatio-temporally or the eye can choose the frequency of light it processes. For Nietzsche, "[o]ur most sacred convictions, unchangeable in regard to our supreme values, are judgments of our muscles. Gilles Deleuze's use of the untimely appeared to be not only a departure but a productive misappropriation of Nietzsche, and as such a creation that might itself suggest a new time to come.

Nietzsche reports three types of history that form relations either in the service or disservice of life: monumental history, antiquarian history and critical history. Deleuze's interaction with Nietzsche's analysis of history and the untimely is explained. A philosophy of history should emerge in Deleuze that is not only more than a critique of facile historicism, but also a crucial part of his general philosophy of time. Edinburgh Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service.

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