Philosophical Temptations: Economy and Futurity

  • Peter R. Sedgwick


The temporal articulation of Nietzsche’s conception of philosophers of the future is significant in that by asserting the futurity of such thinkers he locates them within the framework of a specifically temporal understanding. They stand both in relation to the past as the fruition of the labour of human prehistory that made autonomy possible and against Nietzsche’s own times as contradictions of its revulsion towards suffering and exploitation. As befits their economic articulation, philosophers of the future are akin to possessors of property. Their valued ‘goods’, however, are spiritual and intellectual.


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  1. 14.
    ‘What is foremost at issue for Nietzsche is the question of value […] and finding a solution to the “problem of value” defines “the future task of the philosophers” (GM, I, 17, note)’. Alan D. Schrift, Nietzsche and the Question of Interpretation: Between Hermeneutics and Deconstruction (London: Routledge, 1990), p. 61. Google Scholar
  2. Schrift has argued that philosophers like Derrida and Foucault stand as thinkers who address themselves to this task; they occupy a ‘place in the history of philosophy as two of the “philosophers of the future” to whom Nietzsche’s writings were addressed’. See Alan D. Schrift, ‘Foucalt and Derrida on Nietzsche and the End(s) of “Man” ‘, in Exceedingly Nietzsche, eds David Farrell Krell and David Wood (London: Routledge, 1988), p. 146.Google Scholar
  3. 15.
    As Richard Schacht has argued, this creativity is, for Nietzsche, something inherent in reality: ‘Nietzsche holds […] that the world is to be conceived as something which has made itself […] that the course taken by the world as it thus proceeds to fashion itself is creative (and thereby also destructive) rather than merely mechanical or nomalogical or “logical”.’ Richard Schacht, Nietzsche (London: Routledge & Keegan Paul, 1983), p. 211. The notion of Nietzsche’s conception of creative destruction has become important in recent economic theory. See Hugo Reinert and Erik S. Reinert, ‘Creative Destruction in Economics: Nietzsche, Sombart, Schumpeter’, in Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900): Economy and Society, eds Jiirgen G. Backhaus and Wolfgang Drechsler (New York: Springer Verlag, 2006).Google Scholar
  4. 16.
    Wolfgang Müller-Lauter interprets this must as a sign of Nietzsche’s inability to achieve a philosophical resolution of the harmonisation of power and wisdom: ‘The conflict between wisdom and power remains unsolved in the highest man. Nietzsche must, however, cling to the possibility of a solution […] Because the philosophical proof of this possibility does not succeed, it can be kept open only as an object of faith. In the end nothing remains but stubborn hope […]’. Wolfgang Müller-Lauter, Nietzsche: His Philosophy of Contradictions and the Contradictions of His Philosophy, trans. David J. Parent (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1999), p. 83.Google Scholar
  5. 17.
    A view that typifies the ‘Nietzsche legend’. See R.J. Hollingdale, ‘The hero as outsider’, in The Cambridge Companion to Nietzsche, eds Bernd Magnus and Kathleen M. Higgins (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 84ff.Google Scholar
  6. 25.
    See Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, trans. John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1962), p. 291.Google Scholar

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© Peter R. Sedgwick 2007

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  • Peter R. Sedgwick

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