The Vienna Circle's Reception of Nietzsche


  • Andreas Vrahimis University of Cyprus



Friedrich Nietzsche was among the figures from the history of nineteenth-century philosophy that, perhaps surprisingly, some of the Vienna Circle’s members had presented as one of their predecessors. While, primarily for political reasons, most Anglophone figures in the history of analytic philosophy had taken a dim view of Nietzsche, the Vienna Circle’s leader Moritz Schlick admired and praised Nietzsche, rejecting what he saw as a misinterpretation of Nietzsche as a militarist or proto-fascist. Schlick, Frank, Neurath, and Carnap were in different ways committed to the view that Nietzsche made a significant contribution to the overcoming of metaphysics. Some of these philosophers praised the intimate connection Nietzsche drew between his philosophical outlook and empirical studies in psychology and physiology. In his 1912 lectures on Nietzsche, Schlick maintained that Nietzsche overcame an initial Schopenhauerian metaphysical-artistic phase in his thinking, and subsequently remained a positivist until his last writings. Frank and Neurath made the weaker claim that Nietzsche contributed to the development of a positivistic or scientific conception of the world. Schlick and Frank took a further step in seeing the mature Nietzsche as an Enlightenment thinker.


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