Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Arnhart, Larry

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Political Science


This thesis considers the work of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche as it relates to what he regarded as the most important psychological and political aspect of his work: the problem of nihilism. Nietzsche says that human beings have become weary of themselves and their possibilities, both as individuals and as political groups. The thesis considers how Nietzsche tries to introduce new ways of thinking and speaking, in particular the breaking down of opposite categories, in order find a response or cure for nihilism. The roots of this new thinking in the work of the pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus are explored, as isthe relation of this philosophical radicalism to political radicalism, especially in the case of the abuse of Nietzsche’s work by the Nazis. It is determined that the way Nietzsche’s new thinking and language leads to a helpful response to nihilism is by re-grounding philosophy (and politics) in a psychology of human desires, which have been liberated from transcendental hopes and expectations.


80 pages




Northern Illinois University

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