Friedrich Nietzsche, The Wanderer and His Shadow (Der Wanderer und sein Schatten).

The Wanderer and his Shadow, the second supplement to Human, All Too Human, first published in 1880.


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Previous Section   43. PROBLEM OF THE DUTY OF TRUTH   Next Section

Problem of the Duty of Truth.  Duty is an imperious sentiment that forces us to action.  We call it good, and consider it outside the pale of discussion.  The origin, limits, and justification of duty we will not debate or allow to be debated.  But the thinker considers everything an evolution and every evolution a subject for discussion, and is accordingly without duty so long as he is merely a thinker.  As such, he would not recognise the duty of seeing and speaking the truth; he would not feel the sentiment at all.  He asks, whence comes it and whither will it go?  But even this questioning appears to him questionable.  Surely, however, the consequence would be that the thinker's machinery would no longer work properly if he could really feel himself unencumbered by duty in the search for knowledge?  It would appear, then, that for fuel the same element is necessary as must be investigated by means of the machine.  Perhaps the formula will be: granted there were a duty of recognising truth, what is then the truth in regard to every other kind of duty?  — But is not a hypothetical sense of duty a contradiction in terms?  

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