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On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense

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Author  Friedrich Nietzsche
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Similar  Works by Friedrich Nietzsche, Philosophy books

On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense (German: Über Wahrheit und Lüge im außermoralischen Sinn, also called On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense) is a philosophical essay by Friedrich Nietzsche. It was written in 1873, one year after The Birth of Tragedy, but was unpublished during his life. The work deals largely with epistemological questions about the nature of truth and language, and how they relate to the formation of concepts.


On truth and lies in a nonmoral sense 1


Nietzsche's essay provides an account for (and thereby a critique of) the contemporary considerations of truth and concepts. These considerations, argues Nietzsche, arose from the very establishment of a language:

According to Paul F. Glenn, Nietzsche is arguing that "concepts are metaphors which do not correspond to reality." Although all concepts are metaphors invented by humans (created by common agreement to facilitate ease of communication), writes Nietzsche, human beings forget this fact after inventing them, and come to believe that they are "true" and do correspond to reality. Thus Nietzsche argues that "truth" is actually:

These ideas about truth and its relation to human language have been particularly influential among postmodern theorists, and "On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense" is one of the works most responsible for Nietzsche's reputation (albeit a contentious one) as "the godfather of postmodernism."


On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense Wikipedia