Friedrich Nietzsche, Human All Too Human (Menschliches, Allzumenschliches), subtitled A Book for Free Spirits (Ein Buch für freie Geister).

First published in 1878.   A second part, Assorted Opinions and Maxims (Vermischte Meinungen und Sprüche), was published in 1879, and a third part, The Wanderer and his Shadow (Der Wanderer und sein Schatten), followed in 1880.

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INHERITED FAULTS OF PHILOSOPHERS.  All philosophers have the common fault that they start from man in his present state and hope to attain their end by an analysis of him.  Unconsciously they look upon "man" as an aeterna veritas, as a thing unchangeable in all commotion, as a sure standard of things.  But everything that the philosopher asserts about man is basically no more than a statement about man within a very limited time span.  A lack of historical sense is the congenital defect of all philosophers.  Some unwittingly even take the most recent form of man, as it developed under the imprint of certain religions or even certain political events, as the fixed form from which one must proceed.  They will not understand that man has evolved, that the faculty of knowledge has also evolved, while some of them even permit themselves to spin the whole world from out of this faculty of knowledge.  Now, everything essential in human development occurred in primeval times, long before those four thousand years with which we are more or less familiar.  Man probably hasn't changed much more in these years.  But the philosopher sees "instincts" in present-day man, and assumes that they belong to the unchangeable facts of human nature, that they can, to that extent, provide a key to the understanding of the world in general.  This entire teleology is predicated on the ability to speak about man of the last four thousand years as if he were eternal, the natural direction of all things in the world from the beginning.  But everything has evolved; there are no eternal facts, nor are there any absolute truths.  Thus historical philosophizing is necessary henceforth, and the virtue of modesty as well.  
 

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