M.A. (Master of Arts)
Department of Philosophy
Nietzsche; Friedrich Wilhelm; 1844-1900
In the introduction of my essay, I contend that Nietzsche's use of the term "metaphysics" refers to Being metaphysics, whose basic claim is that truth and substance are eternal and unchanging. I also conclude that Nietzsche's use of the term "nihilism" refers to a historical movement, rooted in Platonism, which culminates in the total meaninglessness of life and the world. Finally, I also conclude that Nietzsche's Nachlass should not be viewed as a summary statement of his philosophy, and should be treated carefully. In Chapter Two, I argue that both the cosmological and normative interpretations are faulty. Cosmological interpretations usually rely on questionable texts in The Will to Power, casting doubt on their veracity. I also argue that Alistair Moles's cosmological interpretation collapses due to internal inconsistences. Normative interpretations, based on The Gay Science 341, are deficient because they suppose that Nietzsche attempts to provide a moral imperative. This position is not evident in the rest of Nietzsche's texts. Normative interpretations in general are not refuted, because it seems that some of them (including, perhaps, my own) might be valid. In Chapter Three, I argue that Heidegger's metaphysical interpretation is misguided, but also that he may be right in some cases, especially when he notes that the will to power can be seen as "projective metaphysics." However, the force of his criticism is dulled when we recognize that this metaphysic is perhaps unavoidable if we are to consider the world at all. In Chapter Four I advance my interpretation of eternal recurrence. My claim is that eternal recurrence should be viewed as a formula for affirmation, entailing an escape from the "spirit of revenge." The problem of nihilism is to be overcome by the affirmation of life without appealing to an "eternal reward" to redeem it. Nietzsche's point is that life should redeem itself. In Chapter Five I consider several criticisms that could be leveled against my view, and decide that while they are good criticisms, my view still stands as an interpretation of eternal recurrence that is worthy of consideration.
Ringelstein, Donald A., "Nietzsche's existential/aesthetic doctrine of eternal recurrence" (1994). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 4116.
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