This is not a final but a proof (with corrections indicated) copy of

Babette Babich, “The Ubiquity of Hermeneutics.” In: Jeff Malpas and Hans-Helmuth Gander, eds., The Routledge Companion to Hermeneutics (Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2014), pp. 85-97. If you cite this, please use the published citation (the page references are the same in the proof).


Classical Literature and Philology | History of Philosophy | Philosophy | Philosophy of Science


To understand Nietzsche in the context of hermeneutics is to understand not only Nietzsche’s philosophy of interpretation (Figl 1982a, 1984) but his perspective on perspective (Cox 1997) or “perspectivalism” (Babich 1994: 116f). In turn, given his background familiarity with hermeneutic methodology, this also corresponds to Nietzsche’s own approach as an interpreter of texts and antiquity as of the life, the culture, the history of ancient Greece (see the range of contributions to Jensen and Heit 2014 as well as Ugolini 2003; Figl 1984; and Pöschl 1979). And to do this, just to the extent that Nietzsche specifically reflects on interpretation as such, entails a hermeneutics of hermeneutics.

Thus if Nietzsche by his profession is concerned with textual points, he goes further as philosopher, in Arthur Danto’s title phrasing (1965) --- borrowed just a bit from the neo-Kantian expositor of both Kant and Nietzsche, Hans Vaihinger, Nietzsche als Philosoph (1902) -- and to this extent it is essential to speak in Nietzsche’s case of the ubiquity, as it were, of hermeneutics. To invoke Cox’s expression, interpretation for Nietzsche “goes all the way down and all the way up” (Cox 1999: 139). Nietzsche thus deploys hermeneutics as part and parcel and even as the motor of his philosophy, claiming that everything is interpretation, by which “everything” Nietzsche means everything: and he means the claim in its most logically articulated or consequent sense: to say that everything is interpretation entails that everything is interpreted and, to the extent that Nietzsche speaks against the fiction of the subject as a phantom of grammar (Gadamer picks up on just this point), Nietzsche also makes the object ontological claim that everything (including the text itself) is an interpreter. In this sense, the world itself, nature, the entire cosmos as such is for Nietzsche hermeneutic through and through.


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