Nietzsche on theodicy and life-affirmation

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

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My aims in this paper are threefold: (i) to develop and defend a reading of Nietzsche I have presented elsewhere that ascribes to him a pervasive concern with the problem of theodicy; (ii) to argue that it follows from Nietzsche’s interest in theodicy that he is complicit with the putatively life-denying presuppositions of Christianity, which he attacks and from which he seeks fully to detach himself; and (iii) to assess Nietzsche’s later attempts to move away from the project of theodicy in the direction of a notion of life-affirmation that is free from the negative valuation of life inherent in his earlier approach. According to the interpretation of this later view that I’ll advance here, Nietzsche comes to adopt a deflationary position in respect of the whole question of the affirmation of life. This approach, I argue, converges on two principal claims: first, since the ‘value of existence cannot be assessed’ (TI, II, 2), many of the so-called ‘reactive attitudes’ to the world are misplaced – a consideration that, for Nietzsche, is sufficient to ‘restore the innocence of becoming’ (die Unschuld des Werdens); and second, reflective concern with the problem of the value of life is a form of psychopathology, a remedy for which results not in reaching a positive value judgment about life but a dissolution of the problem. However, as I shall conclude, even in his most strenuous efforts to emancipate himself (and us) from the project of theodicy, he retains a sense of the world as standing in need of redemption, and so is never wholly outside the Christian tradition.

Keywords:Nietzsche, theodicy, affirmation of life, nihilism, Schopenhauer, Christianity
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V500 Philosophy
Divisions:College of Arts
Relation typeTarget identifier
ID Code:30426
Deposited On:09 Mar 2018 14:29

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