In the essay on "Liberalism and Its Discontents," in the context of considering the liberal ideal of "consensus," Geuss invokes Nietzsche as follows:
Nietzsche sees human society as a field of potential and actual conflict, although the conflict in question may not always be a matter of fisticuffs but may involve only the exchange of arguments and witticisms. In the realw orld, Nietzsche argues, any existing "consensus" can be no more than a momentary truce entered into for pragmatic reasons with and with no moral implications, and to expect anything more is a utopian hope. (p. 19)Strangely, not a single text of Nietzsche is cited in support of these claims, not even in a footnote. This is Geuss at his Rortyesque worst: attributing views to important thinkers without even the pretense of scholarly apparatus. In some sense, these might indeed be views that could be ascribed to Nietzsche, but it is not obvious to me what texts Geuss has in mind. Maybe readers can supply the pertinent references?
Far more satisfying (at least for the reader interested in Nietzsche) is the essay on "Thucydides, Nietzsche, and Williams," in which, among other things, Geuss gives an excellent account of the "optimism" of philosophers (since Socrates) that Nietzsche rejects:
First of all, traditional philosophers assumed that the world could be made cognitively accessible to us without remainder....Second, they assumed that when the world was correctly understood, it would make moral sense to us. Third, the kind of "moral sense" which the world made tous would be one that woudl show it to have some orientation toward the satisfaction of some basic, rational human desires or interests, that is, the world was not sheerly indifferent to or perversely frustrating of human happiness. Fourth, the world is set up so that for us to accumulate knowledge and use our reason as vigorously as possible will be good for us, and will contribute to making us happy. Finally, it was assumed that there was a natural fit between the excericse of reason, the conditions of healthy individual human development, the demands of individuals for satisfaction of their needs, interests, and basic desires, and human sociability. Nature, reason, and all human goods, including human virtues, formed a potentially harmonious whole. (p. 223)Geuss suggests that "the basic structure of a philosophy centered around the claim of a harmonious fit between what is rational, what is good for us, and what is good for our society has been very widely retained" in philosophy (p. 224), and that Nietzsche's rejection of this structure figures in why he prefers Thucydides to Plato. This account strikes me as both right and illuminating. (I touched on these themes as well in my Nietzsche on Morality (pp. 47-53).)