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On the Relationship between Philosophy and Biography

Gradually it has become clear to me  what every great philosophy so far has been: namely, the personal confession of its author  and a kind of involuntary and unconscious memoir. --Nietzsche



Philosophers, perhaps much more than others, would deny any such relationship, similarity or even disparity, between their thoughts or body of work with their very own lives. They warn us, sometimes vehemently, that reading their biography into their philosophy, or interpreting their work as either a reflection or response to the different experiences they have accumulated in their lives, would not only lead us into dead-ends, but also be rather too narrow-minded of us--as if every thing in fiction must correspond to something in fact, as if every story out there must mirror exactly the fabric of an author's life.


We understand that also, naturally. We are no longer children. Not only should we give thinkers and authors above all enough credit by not thinking too naively that, aware or not, they do…