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JNS 43:2 Abstracts

Andreas Urs Sommer, "Nietzsche's Readings on Spinoza (Kuno Fischer), and His Notions of Historicity. A Contextualist Study"

Nietzsche's relation to Spinoza is highly puzzling. It was based mainly on secondary sources. This paper explores for the first time what impact Nietzsche's reading on Spinoza—particularly of Kuno Fischer's History of Modern Philosophy—had on his conceptions, particularly on his notion of the historicity of (human and all) reality. Firstly, it will be considered how Nietzsche found a brother-in-arms in Spinoza upon leaving teleology behind, thereafter Nietzsche's concept of Eternal Recurrence will be focused in the context of Spinoza's teaching as it was presented by Fischer. Thirdly, the relation between Nietzsche's amor fati and Spinoza's amor intellectualis dei is investigated as practical answers to the apparent meaninglessness of the world. Finally, it will be discussed how the Spinozist concept of self-preservation (as it was modeled and discussed in 19th century Spinoza research) became in the horizon of evolutionary theory a critical point for Nietzsche. It turns out that the knowledge of Nietzsche's sources is fundamental for an adequate understanding of the use Nietzsche made of Spinoza's philosophy.The article tries to find a new approach to Nietzsche's Spinoza with the help of the contemporary sources he used. Link to the full article.


Richard Schacht, "Nietzsche's Naturalism"

Nietzsche, I contend and many agree, was a fundamentally “naturalistic” thinker. But there are many ways of thinking that can be called “naturalistic”; and it would be a mistake to suppose that any particular one of them is what he advocated and pursued—especially since there are some kinds of naturalism of which he himself is disdainful. So we need to consider what kind of naturalism Nietzsche’s is—particularly as it relates to the natural sciences. I argue that it is one that respects and draws upon these sciences but does not limit itself to reliance upon them and take all of its cues from them. It is not a scientistic naturalism. I then discuss some types of human phenomena of which Nietzsche considers it important for us to be mindful and appreciative, both in the interpretation of human reality and in our understanding of the contours of his naturalism. Link to full article.


Matthew Rukgaber, "The "Sovereign Individual" and the "Ascetic Ideal": On a Perennial Misreading of the Second Essay of Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morality"

This essay supports the Hatab and Acampora interpretation that the "sovereign individual" is not Nietzsche's positive ethical ideal. Overlooked evidence from the Nachlass that bears on the notion of "sovereignty" is used, in conjunction with a close reading of the passages concerning this figure within the second and third essays of On the Genealogy of Morality. I argue that the second essay is not concerned with the fundamentals of agency; rather, it is focused on promising as a moral phenomenon. I demonstrate how the ambiguous traits attributed to the sovereign individual are deconstructed one after another, resulting in this figure appearing to be the culmination of the history of asceticism and moral responsibility. The sovereign individual is the modern individual who only stands apart from the herd insofar as the herd instinct has been perfectly internalized. Link to the full article.


Babette Babich, "On Nietzsche’s Judgment of Style and Hume’s Quixotic Taste: On the Science of Aesthetics and 'Playing' the Satyr"

Nietzsche regarded his own pursuit of knowledge as thoroughly, intrinsically, if joyously, ‘scientific’ and thus he coordinates art and science. This coordination foregrounds what Nietzsche identifies as the role of style in scholarship. Reading Nietzsche’s discussion of specifically scholarly judgments and identifications of style together with David Hume’s stylized reflection “Of the Standard of Taste” sheds new light on Nietzsche’s own scholarly concern with the question of style and taste in terms of an aesthetic. In Nietzsche’s case, the terminus, as he speaks of a “science of aesthetics” also bespeaks a research, specifically phenomenological, methodology. I conclude with an example of such an aesthetic phenomenology using the anecdote of Nietzsche’s enactment of the satyr as experimental archaeology. Link to the full article.


Philipp Haueis, "Apollonian Scientia Sexualis and Dionysian Ars Erotica?: On the Relation Between Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality and Friedrich Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy"

The paper explores how a non-reductionist account of Nietzsche’s influence on Michel Foucault can enrich our understanding of key concepts in singular works of both philosophers. I assess this exegetical strategy by looking at the two dichotomies Apollonian/Dionysian and ars erotica/scientia sexualis in The Birth of Tragedy and The History of Sexuality Volume I, respectively. After exploring the relation between these two dichotomies, I link the science of sexuality to the Apollonian art instinct via the existence of Socratic culture, and argue against the "pleasure of analysis" as a sublated form of (Dionysian) ars erotica. These considerations lead to the notions of history in Nietzsche’s and Foucault’s philosophies that result in situating the polyvalent ‘Ursprung’ of Greek tragedy and the descent of ars erotica and scientia sexualis in an antimetaphysical and nonteleological picture of historical development. Link to the full article.


Bryan Finken, "Nietzsche versus the Genetic Fallacy"

Did Nietzsche rely on genetic fallacies? I argue that while he published two minor instances, he also struggled mightily against a particular breed of genetic fallacy. What he critiqued as a "proof of strength" was in fact a genetic fallacy of the sort that derives the truth of a proposition from positive results that arise from believing it. This theme is a signature of his works and heavily militates against readings of Nietzsche that casually accuse him of fallacy. Link to the full article.


Mark P. Jenkins, "Williams, Nietzsche, and Pessimism"

This article extends recent efforts to investigate Nietzsche through the lens of Bernard Williams, and Williams through the lens of Nietzsche, by focusing on their respective conceptions of, and attitudes towards, pessimism. Specifically, the article investigates whether Williams should be regarded as endorsing or manifesting tragic or Dionysian forms of pessimism, which Nietzsche valorizes under the term “pessimism of strength,” or whether he is better associated with the Schopenhauerian or romantic pessimism, or even the Socratic optimism, that Nietzsche rejects. The answer is held to turn on the interpretation of Williams’s obscure notion of “confidence.” Link to the full article.


Anthony K. Jensen, "The Centrality and Development of ‘Anschauung’ in Nietzsche’s Epistemology"

This paper traces the evolution of a single concept—Anschauung—in Nietzsche’s thinking. It shows that Nietzsche’s early epistemology was to a great extent dependent upon Schopenhauer’s romantic notion of Anschauung as a way of apprehending timeless and universal ideas. After the Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche shifts his usage of the term to designate the mental process of transference by which stimulation becomes a choate representation. In a third phase of development, Nietzsche abandons any positive use of the term, and employs Anschauung instead as a sarcastic watchword for essentialist epistemologies generally. Although it has been nearly ignored in Anglophone literature, the changing context of its employment is an essential aspect of Nietzsche’s development as a thinker. Link to the full article.


Morgan Rempel, "Daybreak 72: Nietzsche, Epicurus, and the After Death"

Dozens of references to Epicurus and Epicureanism can be found in the writings of Nietzsche. Very little scholarly attention, however, has been paid to one of the more interesting aspects of Nietzsche's thinking on the topic; its particular interest in Epicureanism's relationship to Christianity. One motif within Nietzsche's ruminations on this larger theme is the valuable opposition Epicureanism is said to have offered to notions of personal immortality circulating among antiquity's "mystery religions" and nascent Christianity. This paper examines Daybreak 72's highly original portrayal of Epicureanism's struggle with these rival "redemption doctrines." While perhaps not as exciting as teachings of personal immortality and posthumous recompense, Nietzsche concludes that Epicurus' calm, straightforward denial of such ideas was, in fact, "real redemption." Link to the full article.