What's attractive about looking at all philosophers in part suspiciously and in part mockingly is not that we find again and again how innocent they are - how often and how easily they make mistakes and get lost, in short, how childish and child-like they are - but that they are not honest enough in what they do, while, as a group, they make huge, virtuous noises as soon as the problem of truthfulness is touched on, even remotely. Collectively they take up a position as if they had discovered and arrived at their real opinions through the self-development of a cool, pure, god-like disinterested dialectic (in contrast to the mystics of all ranks, who are more honest than they are and more stupid with their talk of "inspiration"-), while basically they defend with reasons sought out after the fact an assumed principle, an idea, an "inspiration," for the most part some heart-felt wish which has been abstracted and sifted. They are all advocates who do not want to call themselves that. Indeed, for the most part they are even mischievous pleaders for their judgments, which they baptize as "Truths,"- and very remote from the courage of conscience which would admit this, even this, to itself, very remote from that brave good taste which would concede as much, whether to warn an enemy or friend, or whether to mock themselves as an expression of their own high spirits. That equally stiff and well-behaved Tartufferie [hypocrisy] of old Kant with which he enticed us onto the clandestine path of dialectic leading or, more correctly, seducing us to his "categorical imperative"- this dramatic performance makes us discriminating people laugh, for it amuses us in no small way to keep a sharp eye on the sophisticated scheming of the old moralists and preachers of morality.3 Or that sort of mathematical hocus-pocus with which Spinoza presented his philosophy - in the last analysis "the love of his own wisdom," to use the correct and proper word - as if it were armed in metal and masked, in order in this way to intimidate from the start the courage of an assailant who would dare to cast an eye on this invincible virgin and Pallas Athena - how much of his own shyness and vulnerability is betrayed by this masquerade of a solitary invalid!4

3. . . . Kant . . . categorical imperative : the key phrase in Kant's morality, the idea that moral action consists of acting upon a principle which could become a rational moral principle without creating a moral contradiction ("Act so that the maxim [which determines your will] may be capable of becoming a universal law for all rational beings." Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) was an enormously influential German Enlightenment philosopher.

4. . . . Spinoza; Baruch de Spinoza (1632-1677), an important and controversial Dutch philosopher. Pallas Athena : the Greek goddess of wisdom.

Friedrich Nietzsche - Beyond Good and Evil
Part I - Aphorism # 5

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