One Hundred Twenty-Two Years Later: Reassessing the Nietzsche-Darwin Relationship

Journal of Nietzsche Studies 44 (2):342-353 (2013)
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Abstract

ABSTRACT Nietzsche's perspective on Darwin and Darwinism has received increased scrutiny in recent years, a reflection of the fact that scholars have sensed that the Nietzsche-Darwin connection has not been adequately assessed and that their relationship might be more significant than has been previously assumed. Renewed interest in Nietzsche's alleged naturalism has also focused attention on that scientific paradigm, which best reflects the triumph of the naturalist perspective in the modern era, namely Darwinism. But while numerous studies have pointed to the overlap and shared concerns of both thinkers, no one has systematically interpreted Nietzsche's reception of Darwin as a fundamental antagonism, one that had emerged from an initial sympathy to the Darwinian approach in the early years and ended in a foundational critique. By examining Nietzsche in this way, one can appreciate Nietzsche's critique of Darwinism as one significant component of his larger assault on contemporary culture and decadence, which became his central concern in his final works.

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