Nietzsche, contingency, and the vacuity of politics

In Jeffrey A. Metzger (ed.), Nietzsche, Nihilism, and the Philosophy of the Future. Continuum (2009)

Abstract

Nietzsche’s self-proclaimed ‘anti-political’(EH ‘wise’ 3; cf. TI 8.4) stance is often ignored.1 Commentators, that is, often interpret Nietzsche’s texts as responding to familiar issues within political philosophy, and as furnishing a novel position therein. This could indeed be the appropriate hermeneutic response. Dismissing one of Nietzsche’s proclamations is, on a variety of different grounds, hermeneutically reasonable. In this particular case, given all that Nietzsche has to say about sociality and the roles of public institutions in modern life, dismissal might even seem compelling. Here, however, I wish to recuperate Nietzsche’s anti-political stance. That is, I shall argue that Nietzsche’s self-proclamation does in fact reflect his deep commitments, and thus compels a reassessment of the political interpretations of his thought.

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Robert Guay
State University of New York at Binghamton

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