Nothing But History: Reconstruction and Extremity after by David D. Roberts

By David D. Roberts

During this reissue of a hugely praised highbrow background, which lines historic and anti-historical issues from Nietzsche, Croce, and Heidegger to Gadamer, Foucault, Derrida, and Rorty, David Roberts pinpoints developments towards overreaction within the postmodern flip, and indicates how historians can deepen their self knowing and play a extra relevant function in a postmodern tradition. His method of rethinking such contested different types as presentism and relativism, grasp narratives and "others," permits us higher to appreciate the cultural position of old inquiry. Includeds a brand new preface that responds to critics and locations the paintings in the altering framework of discussion over postmodernism and background.

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By historicizing even the historical treatment itself, by dissolving everything into empty becoming and fictional contrivance, Nietzsche seemed able to deflate the particular world and to sidestep any deeper confrontation with the appallingly capricious particularity of things. But he sensed that this tack was too easy; something about the new experience of "nothing but history" continued to gnaw at him. It was important to grasp that reality, including the present premium on the historicizing mode itself, did not have to be this way, but it was this way—and it mattered that it was.

But why did Nietzsche find it so important to draw the future into the finite totality? What did he find troubling about the historicist tension of his first response? We saw that redemption, with the first formulation of amor fati, entails recasting the capricious accidents of the past into products of one's own will. But this suggested that the work of redeeming the past is never finished, because more dreadful accident is at work in the process whereby each moment becomes the next. To experience the world in this way thus seemed to yield an imperative of ongoing action, a restless effort to keep creating, from the fragments of the past, a situation that I can fully affirm.

And modesty was called for because we come to understand that our interpretation, like all the others, will not apprehend stable, suprahistorical "being" but will simply add to the history by giving a particular understanding of the resultant of that history so far. Metaphysicians, Nietzsche went on to argue, worry about the relationship between the world of appearance and the thing-in-itself; they want to know what there really is, apart from the contingencies of historical circumstance. They have overlooked the possibility that what we call life and experience .

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