Nietzsche’s Notion of Embodied Self: Proto-Phenomenology at Work?

Nietzsche Studien (1973) 40 (1):226-243 (2011)
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I present an interpretation of the works of Nietzsche’s middle period as offering a phenomenological inquiry. This constitutes an extension of the famous existentialist interpretation of his philosophy. Nietzsche’s concern with the individual qua individual leads him to consider how the human being experiences 1) himself, 2) the presence of others and 3) how the world and the objects therein appear to him. This concern focuses on the human being as an embodied intentional consciousness. I propose to consider Nietzsche as a phenomenologist avant la lettre, that is, as a philosopher whose inquiry anticipates traditional phenomenology. To flesh this out, I explore Nietzsche’s phenomenological view on embodiment and his notion of the body as „die große Vernunft“ (grand reason). I also explore how this view of the situated body forms the ground for Nietzsche’s ethical elaborations. This leads me to conclude that the embodied Übermensch is the phenomenological ethical ideal of Nietzsche’s philosophy, the only one that may allow the individual to flourish.



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Christine Daigle
Brock University

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