Nietzsche's agon with ressentiment: Towards a therapeutic reading of critical transvaluation [Book Review]

Continental Philosophy Review 34 (1):69-93 (2001)
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Abstract

This paper examines the therapeutic implications of Nietzsche's critique of ressentiment and revenge as our signature malady. §I examines the obstacles to a therapeutic reading of Nietzsche's thought, including his anti-teleological tendencies and the value he places on sickness. Then there is the energetic problem of finding resources to tackle ressentiment, given the volitional exhaustion of modern nihilism. Finally, the self-referential implications of Nietzsche's critique of slave values threaten to trap his thought in a futile ressentiment against ressentiment. If the impulse to cure or redeem us from revenge through critical destruction repeats the logic of revenge, then the challenge for a therapeutic reading is to think through the transformation of revenge on the basis of repetition.An agonal reading of Nietzsche's philosophical practice is proposed to tackle these problems in §II.

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Herman Siemens
Leiden University

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