In Nietzsche's Genealogy on Morals, I found the expression corrosive skepticism.

But it was against precisely these instincts that there spoke from me an ever more fundamental mistrust, an ever more corrosive skepticism!

Is it referred to an old skepticism? Does it have any other meaning?

  • 2
    Welcome to ELU! Have you looked up corrosive in a dictionary? What do you think skepticism corrodes? – StoneyB on hiatus Feb 21 '19 at 12:31

I think that corrosive skepticism is rather unusual a collocation in comparison to, i.g, corrosive criticism which is always directed towards someone causing unpleasant feelings, the adjective corrosive meaning spitefully sarcastic. As for skepticism, it refers to someone's own state of being unsure of something and so it is not directed towards anyone's feelings, can't affect or influence negatively as corrosion does to metals.

In addition, the "an ever more corrosive skepticism" part makes me think that the expression and its interpretation by the author were used earlier in the text. Maybe it has something to do with the external manifestation of skepticism which, if you dig deeper, may be rather unpleasant and even corrosive. I'm not sure, though.

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