ABSTRACT

Marx and Nietzsche are often compared as practitioners of a hermeneutic of suspicion. I pursue this comparison by focusing on an overlooked similarity between the two. In strangely similar passages, Marx (in Capital) and Nietzsche (in the Genealogy of Morals) introduce explicitly theatrical scenarios into the course of their discussions, complete with what Marx calls dramatis personae, where we witness a descent into a workshop (in some sense underground) in order to learn the secrets of production—the production, in both cases, of value. But neither scenario conforms to the structure of the discovery of a concealed truth—in fact, each challenges this structure directly. By looking at the specific nature of these theatrical descents, we can come to a better understanding of the task of the philosopher in both Nietzsche and Marx, as well as the distinctive position of historical knowledge within a hermeneutics of suspicion.

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