Nietzsche on truth, lies and interpretation

Laura asked:

If Nietzsche’s theory was there is no truth as we understand truth to be defined, does that mean that all there is are lies?

Answer by Shaun Williamson

No, it doesn’t. In philosophy words have no context so we invent a (wrong) context for them. You see the word truth and you think of truth vs lies. You could also have thought of truth vs beliefs.

Nietzsche was thinking of truth vs interpretation. I think he said something like 1. There is no such thing as truth, there is only interpretation Now of course if he is right then 1. isn’t true either it is only his interpretation. So we are being asked to found our theory of truth on something which is not true.

I think he was thinking mainly about things like history and literary criticism. He wasn’t thinking about mathematical or logical truth or even scientific truth.

The value in what he said is that he reminds us that often our most important beliefs are just based on the world as we see it and interpret it. We interpret history, literature, art from our 21st century perspective in a particular society and we can never be completely free from our inbuilt preconceptions.


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