Epitemic Perspectivism and Living Well in the Thought of Nietzsche and Zhuangzi

Nietzsche and Zhuangzi offer epistemological views of perspectivism that inform a normative conception of living well. Perspectivism for both thinkers point to the limits of human knowledge, in that both thinkers deny the possibility of attaining knowledge traditionally considered important to living well. Both also endorse a notion of the good life that takes the value of knowledge to be restricted. Nietzschean perspectivism devalues the pursuit of knowledge that does not pertain to human interests. Zhuangist perspectivism devalues the pursuit of knowledge that does not facilitate attainment of the normative Way. I respond to Berry’s therapeutic reading of Nietzsche in order to argue that Nietzsche rejects knowledge that does not speak to human interests. I also draw upon Ivanhoe and Berkson’s reading of Zhuangzi’s epistemology to argue that his perspectivism informs a view of the good life that values intuitive knowledge and its employment of the natural mechanism (tian ji), over the pursuit of theoretical knowledge, which includes asking grand questions about the workings and origin of the universe.


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