Ken Gemes – Nietzsche on The Value of Truth


Department of Philosophy

Professor Ken Gemes (Birkbeck) – Nietzsche on the Value of Truth

Nietzsche claims that the with the rejection of religious underpinning of the value of truth (the truth as God’s word) we can now raise the question of why and to what extent we should value truth.  He argues that our need for meaning conflicts with our will to truth since that will tends to destroy all mythologies including the mythology of value – our will to truth reveals that values are not in the world but are merely our projections onto the world.  This knowledge eviscerates the world of meaning.  This does not mean that Nietzsche rejects the value of truth but that he rejects the notion, inherited from the Judeo-Christian world view, that truth is an unconditional value. Such a notion of truth, destructive of all myth and meaning, is unliveable. The very claim that the truth is valuable, even if not unconditionally valuable, is itself one of those myths that help give life meaning.

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