Philosophy in Pieces: The Aphorisms of Nietzsche's Human, All Too Human and Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations
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This thesis considers the philosophical importance of the literary form of two aphoristic works of philosophy: Nietzsche’s Human, All Too Human and Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations. Though both these German-speaking philosophers are widely thought to be aphorists, there is little consensus about what exactly is aphoristic about their individual or shared literary forms. While their philosophies and forms of aphorisms are quite different in practice, this thesis argues that Nietzsche’s and Wittgenstein’s modes of aphoristic expression are essential to their philosophical projects in these works. This thesis also explores the particular challenges of interpreting aphorisms in a philosophical context. Though aphorisms have various literary qualities, their status as discrete pieces of philosophy is of greatest interest here. Nietzsche and Wittgenstein match their piecework form of writing to various philosophical goals they set themselves. Their success as highly stylized, aphoristic philosophers is particularly remarkable in light of conventional philosophical writing, which is generally conducted in a much less “fragmented” form. By examining the styles, forms, structures, rhetorics, and interpretations of these two works, this thesis investigates the necessity and practice of their intriguing and difficult modes of expression.