My question: In the very first sentence of Zur Genealogie der Moral, Nietzsche writes: "Wir sind uns unbekannt, wir Erkennenden, wir selbst uns selbst: das hat seinen guten Grund." What does "wir selbst uns selbst" mean in this context?

1 Answer 1


In his 1967 translation, Walter Kaufman writes: "We are unknown to ourselves, we men of knowledge--and with good reason." It looks to me like Kaufmann's translation omits the bit with "wir selbst uns selbst".

In his 1913 translation, Horace B. Samuel writes "We are unknown, we knowers, ourselves to ourselves: this has its own good reason." So Samuel is translating "wir selbst uns selbst" as "ourselves to ourselves".

Samuel's "ourselves to ourselves" seems right to me, with the rest of Kaufmann's translation more compelling to me. So I would write: "We are unknown to ourselves, we men of knowledge, ourselves to ourselves--and with good reason."

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