File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_2001/bhaskar.0110, message 13


Date: Sun, 07 Oct 2001 09:28:37 +1000
Subject: BHA: Nietzsche & Fukuyama and Bhaskar.


A student of mine is doing a dissertation on Australian print journalists 
and as part of this project is studying the writings of Paul Kelly the 
"doyen" of Australian journalist commentators.  A recent piece by Kelly had 
a comment on Fukuyama.  The reference was to Fukuyama's triumphalist post 
Soviet 'end of history' thesis rather than to his later much gloomier work.

Bhaskar has a beautifully savage if at times obscure footnote on Fukuyama 
on p 367 of Dialectic: The Pulse Freedom.   Basically he accuses F. of 
misreading Kojeve's reading of Hegel and in so doing denying the radical 
potential implicit in Hegel's master slave dialectic.  As I read Bhaskar 
his critique of Hegel is that Hegel does not follow through the 
implications of his own master-slave dialectic but settles for the stage of 
mutual forgiveness and recognition rather than the stage of the 
transcendence of all master-slave relationships.

However in Bhaskar's foot-note there is a remark which I cannot really make 
much sense of.  It says 'First it is not generally recognised that he 
(Fukuyama) owes as much to Nietzsche as to Hegel'.  How I would love to get 
Bhaskar to expand on this.  How often have I had that feeling  when reading 
his work!

What aspect of Nietzsche is involved here?  My student thinks it is the 
'will to power' and reading through Bhaskar's footnote it would appear that 
he may well be correct. Bhaskar criticises Fukuyama's use of the concept 
'thymos' ('Platonic 'spirit', characteristic of the warrior-guardian 
caste').  Bhaskar points out that the master slave dialectic is set in 
motion by the desire of the slave not the thymos of the master.  It is the 
slave who is the agent of history not the warrior -guardian.  So this would 
indeed appear to be an instance of a Nietzschean concept (the will to 
power) being overlaid on a Hegelian construct.

I had originally argued with my student that Bhaskar was thinking more of 
the Nietzschean notion of the "eternal return'.  Here I recall but cannot 
find a comment by Bhaskar that a range of philosophers from Hume to 
Nietzsche had attempted to deny the possibility of change. He specifically 
cites Nietzsche's concept of the eternal return as an instance of 
this.  Can anyone help here in locating this?  The index is as usual hopeless.

What I was thinking of was that Fukuyama was emphasising in his end of 
history thesis that nothing had changed and nothing could change.  Whether 
this itself is a fair reading of the 'eternal return' is perhaps open to 
question.

regards

Gary






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