Refuting Friedrich Nietzsche, Empiricism – Gordon Clark Quotes

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This is a list of Gordon Clark quotes about Friedrich Nietzsche and Empiricism. For each quote, there is a link where you can purchase the book where the quote came from.

For Gordon Clark quotes about empiricism in general, visit Gordon Clark Quotes – Empiricism.

Gordon Clark Refutes Friedrich Nietzsche, Empiricism (Wheaton Lectures)

From Clark and His Critics, published by the Trinity Foundation (page numbers are from the Apple Books e-book).

Nietzsche strangely manages to agree with Aristotle, if only on one point: A mind with a form of its own will distort our knowledge. But for Nietzsche the mind has a form of its own; possibly not the a priori forms of Kant, but nonetheless a mode of action that modifies whatever it receives. Therefore, argues Nietzsche, the facts of nature never reach our consciousness without being simplified, adjusted, and interpreted. The activity of knowing, as it has developed in the human race, is a simplifying device, and we never grasp things as they are. Logic begins by comparing things and equalizing them. But in reality no two things are equal. Not only are two rocks on a mountain different, but even two peas in a pod. Logic, therefore, when it says all peas are vegetables, falsifies phenomena. To speak logically about all peas not only equalizes all peas, it reduces all vegetables to intellectual pure.

Furthermore, Aristotle’s claim that the law of contradiction is an ontological law as well as a law of thought involves a hysteron proteron*. To suppose that logic is adequate to reality requires a knowledge of reality prior to and independent of the law. But the law itself denies that there is any knowledge independent of it. Therefore, concludes Nietzsche, we can never know that the world of things corresponds to our laws of thought.

Nietzsche was also a behaviorist. On this point John Dewey followed him.

Gordon H. Clark. “Clark and His Critics.” Apple Books. 66-67.

* a figure of speech consisting of the reversal of a natural or rational order

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