OFF THE BEATEN TRACK


neo-Kantianism, we arrive at value philosophy. Systems of values are constructed; in ethics, values are subdivided. Even in Christian theology God is defined as the highest value: the summum ens qua summum bonum. The sciences are taken to be value-free, and value judgments are consigned to world views. Value and what is valuable are turned into a positivistic substitute for the metaphysical. That talk about value is so frequent accords with the indeterminacy of the concept. The indeterminacy, for its part, accords with the obscurity of the essential origin of value from being. For assuming that value, so often invoked in these guises, is not nothing, it will have its essence in being.

What does Nietzsche understand by value? In what is the essence of value grounded? Why is Nietzsche's metaphysics the metaphysics of values?

In a note (1887/88) Nietzsche states what he understands by value (The Will to Power, no. 715): "The viewpoint of 'value' is the viewpoint of the conditions for preservation-increase in regarda to the complex structures, relatively enduring, of life in the midst of becoming."

The essence of value is based on its being a viewpoint. Value means that which one has in mind [ins Auge gefasst]. Value is the point of sight for a seeing that has its eye on something, or, as we say, that counts on [auf etwas rechnet] something and thereby has to deal with [mit anderem rechnen] something else. Value stands in an inner relation to a this-much, to quantity and number. Values are therefore (The Will to Power, no. 710, from 1888) related to a "scale of number and measure." The question still remains: on what is the scale of increase and diminishment, for its part, grounded?

In characterizing value as a viewpoint, the one essential thing for Nietzsche's concept of value follows: as a viewpoint, value is always posited by a seeing and for a seeing. This seeing is of such a kind that it sees in that it has seen, and that it has seen by re-presenting to itself as a particular thing that which was sighted, thereby positing it. It is only through this setting within representation that the point which is necessary for keeping an eye on something and which therefore directs the visual course of this seeing becomes a point of sight, that is, becomes what matters in seeing and in all activity directed by vision. Before this, therefore, values are not something in themselves, so that they could be taken when necessary as points of sight.

Value is value provided it is valid. It is valid provided it is posited as what matters. It is so posited by aiming and keeping one's sight on what must he counted. The point of sight, the regard, the field of view are here


a First edition, 1950: perpective, horizon.


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Nietzsche's Word: “God Is Dead” (GA 5) by Martin Heidegger