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Episteme

Abstract

What is Nietzsche doing with Apollo and Dionysus in The Birth of Tragedy? The author believes that Allan Megill’s interpretation is way off the mark. Nietzsche is not committed to a realm of inaccessible reality; his two Greek symbols are not epistemological poles. Although Megill’s attention to “immediate” and “mediation” correctly identifies the separate powers that Nietzsche has in mind, Nietzsche’s goal is not to describe the split between reality and appearance; but rather to describe how their union spawned Attic tragedy. They symbolize the contradiction of existence. As made clear in another work from Nietzsche’s early period, On Truth and Lie in an Extramoral Sense, Nietzsche rejects the thing-in-itself, because it cannot exist except as an abstraction. When it comes to truth, which seems to be what Megill is so preoccupied with, Nietzsche is clear: no experience occurs independently of a perspective.

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