Nietzsche's aestheticist claim : on the relation between art and truth
Nietzsche's controversial "aestheticist" claim that existence and the world are only justifiable as aesthetic phenomena provides the motivation for this thesis. The aestheticist claim is summative of Nietzsche's characteristic aestheticism, which allows for a link between the typically distinct concepts of art and truth. Although the available literature includes analysis of Nietzsche's aestheticism, no full defence of it has previously been offered. The general view seems to be that aestheticism should be treated sceptically, and as such, it remains underdeveloped within contemporary Nietzsche studies. The chief aims of the thesis are therefore to respond to this relative neglect of the aestheticist view of the art/truth relation, and to develop and defend a standard account of aestheticism. Additionally, in so doing the thesis aims to offer implicit evidence of Nietzsche's philosophy as continuous in order to raise the question of the textual periodisation technique, which lends methodological weight to the sceptical attitude towards Nietzsche's aestheticism. The question of aestheticism is contextualised within the 'Two Cultures' debate on the relation between art, truth and science and the nihilistic crisis of values in modern culture. As such, the wider significance of defending Nietzsche's aestheticism is made appreciable. Following analysis of the available readings of aestheticism, key elements are considered and the features of a standard account are identified. However, three problems which turn on issues surrounding the art/truth relation in Nietzsche are also identified: the problems of metaphysics, ethics and common ontological ground. The thesis proposes solutions to each of these in turn. Nietzsche's aestheticism is therefore defended by appeal to an interpretative link between art and truth in the terms of Nietzsche's conception of being.