Nietzsche on morality and the affirmation of life

Came, Daniel, ed. (2018) Nietzsche on morality and the affirmation of life. Oxford University Press. ISBN UNSPECIFIED

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The prevailing tendency in much recent Nietzsche scholarship has been to attempt to show that Nietzsche’s philosophy intersects with the concerns of mainstream Anglophone philosophy. While Nietzsche does have views on normative and meta-ethical questions, on free will and the nature of the self, his interest in these matters is not—at least not primarily—systematic. For example, his fundamental objection to traditional morality was not that it is based on putatively false presuppositions (“it is not error qua error that horrifies me at this sight” [EH, IV, 7]), but rather that as an expression of the “ascetic ideal” it is involved in life-denial and nihilism. For Nietzsche, the principal problem with traditional morality is not that it presupposes false beliefs, but that it manifests an attitude and orientation of hatred towards life—that, in short, it is incompatible with the affirmation of life. Similarly, a concern with the affirmation of life has a strong claim to be the motor of his own alternative, putatively life-enhancing ethical vision with which he seeks to supplant traditional morality. He gives various descriptions of life-affirmation throughout his writings, from the notion of an ‘aesthetic justification’ of existence in his first published work, The Birth of Tragedy, to the later doctrines of the eternal recurrence and amor fati in his mature writings. But what exactly is it to affirm life? What is the supposed relation between the values of traditional morality and the pessimistic verdict on the value of existence which Nietzsche had encountered in Schopenhauer’s work? What role, if any, does the “higher individual” play in the affirmation of life? What is the relation between morality and nihilism? What is the relation between art and the affirmation of life? Does Nietzsche succeed in his project of identifying the conditions for a genuine affirmation of the world “as it is”? Is Nietzsche himself a life-affirmer? Or is his pursuit of life-affirmation really a mask for life-negating despair? The proposed volume brings together some of the most distinguished figures in contemporary Anglo-American Nietzsche scholarship to examine these questions, and to consider more broadly the relationship between Nietzsche’s critique of morality (and its secular embodiments), his own positive ethics, and his wider concern with the affirmation of life.

Keywords:Nietzsche, morality, affirmation of life, life-affirmation, nihilism, Christianity, eternal recurrence, pessimism, Schopenhauer
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V500 Philosophy
Divisions:College of Arts
Relation typeTarget identifier
ID Code:30425
Deposited On:09 Mar 2018 14:26

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