_Germinal Life_ is the sequel to the highly successful _Viroid Life_. Where _Viroid Life_ provided a compelling reading of Nietzsche's philosophy of the human, _Germinal Life_ is an original and groundbreaking analysis of little known and difficult theoretical aspects of the work of French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. In particular, Keith Ansell Pearson provides fresh and insightful readings of Deleuze's work on Bergson and Deleuze's most famous texts _Difference and Repetition_ and _A Thousand Plateaus_. _Germinal Life _also provides new insights into (...) Deleuze's relation to some of the most original thinkers of modernity, from Darwin to Freud and Nietzsche, and explores the connections between Deleuze and more recent thinkers such as Adorno and Merleau-Ponty. (shrink)
This is a lively and engaging introduction to the contentious topic of Nietzsche's political thought. It traces the development of Nietzsche's thinking on politics from his earliest writings to the mature work in which he advocates aristocratic radicalism as opposed to 'petty' European nationalism. The key ideas of the will to power, eternal return and the overman are discussed and all Nietzsche's major works analysed in detail, such as Beyond Good and Evil and The Genealogy of Morals, within the context (...) of the concerns of modern political theory. The book concludes with an assessment of Nietzsche's enduring relevance and of the insights afforded by contemporary liberal and feminist readings. This textbook will be essential for all students of Nietzsche and of the history of political ideas. It includes a chronology of Nietzsche's life and works and a guide to further reading. (shrink)
Informed by the philosophy of the virtual, Keith Ansell Pearson offers up one of the most lucid and original works on the central philosophical questions. He asks that if our basic concepts on what it means to be human are wrong then, what is this to mean for our ideas of time, being, consciousness? A critical examination ensues, one informed by a multitude of responses to a large number of philosophers. Under discussion is the mathematical limits as found in Russell, (...) questions on Relativity, Kant's notion of judgement, Popper, Dennett, Dawkins and Proust. He brings into the rapport the concepts of Bergson and their explosive insights into the idea of time. (shrink)
This essay examines Deleuze’s relation to new materialism through an engagement with new materialist claims about the human and nonhuman relation and about agency. It first considers the work of Elisabeth Grosz and then moves on to a consideration of Deleuze’s own conception of a new materialism/new naturalism. I seek to show that Deleuze is an ethically motivated naturalist concerned with an ethical pedagogy of the human, which he derives from his reading of Spinoza. I seek to illuminate some of (...) the principal features of this ethically guided materialism/naturalism and show that even in his later work with Felix Guattari, which situates all life, human and nonhuman, on a plane of immanence, there remains a recognition that the human animal is ethically distinguished as the inventive species par excellence. My main claim, then, is that Deleuze’s project cannot be aligned with a new materialism that supposes a flat ontology and that does away with an ethical distinction between the human and the nonhuman. Although Deleuze bequeaths a complex legacy to post-modern thought in his thinking about the human, it should not be supposed that he has no affinities with aspects of a humanist position and pedagogy. (shrink)
Keith Ansell-Pearson's book is an important and very welcome contribution to a neglected area of research: Nietzsche's political thought. Nietzsche is widely regarded as a significant moral philosopher, but his political thinking has often been dismissed as either impossibly individualistic or dangerously totalitarian. Nietzsche contra Rousseau takes a serious look at Nietzsche as political thinker and relates his political ideas to the dominant traditions of modern political thought. In particular, the nature of Nietzsche's dialogue with the philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (...) is examined, in order to demonstrate Rousseau's crucial role in Nietzsche's understanding of modernity and its discontents. (shrink)
The book seeks to illuminate Bergson's view that philosophy is the discipline of thinking that makes the effort to think beyond the human condition so as to extend our perception of the universe. In the book I explore Bergson on time and freedom, on memory, on his reformation of philosophy in Creative Evolution, on religion, on ethics, and on education and the art of life.
With the development of new technologies and the Internet, the notion of the virtual has grown increasingly important. In this lucid collection of essays, Pearson bridges the continental-analytic divide in philosophy, bringing the virtual to centre stage and arguing its importance for re-thinking such central philosophical questions as time and life. Drawing on philosophers from Bergson, Kant and Nietzsche to Proust, Russell, Dennett and Badiou, Pearson examines the limits of continuity, explores relativity, and offers a concept of creative evolution.
The work of Gilles Deleuze has had an impact far beyond philosophy. He is among Foucault and Derrida as one of the most cited of all contemporary French thinkers. Never a student 'of' philosophy, Deleuze was always philosophical and many influential poststructuralist and postmodernist texts can be traced to his celebrated resurrection of Nietzsche against Hegel in his Nietzsche and Philosophy , from which this collection draws its title. This searching new collection considers Deleuze's relation to the philosophical tradition and (...) beyond to the future of philosophy, science and technology. In addition to considering Deleuze's imaginative readings of classic figures such as Spinoza and Kant, the essays also point to the meaning of Deleuze on 'monstrous' and machinic thinking, on philosophy and engineering, on philosophy and biology, on modern painting and literature. Deleuze and Philosophy continues the spirit of experimentation and invention that features in Deleuze's work and will appeal to those studying across philosophy, social theory, literature and cultural studies who themselves are seeking new paradigms of thought. (shrink)
In this essay I explore the nature of Deleuze’s commitment to an affirmative naturalism that is based on certain Epicurean principles and insights. The essay is divided into two main parts. In the first part I bring to light some of the key features of Lucretius’s great poem on the nature of things, and I do so with the aid of Bergson and his reading of the teaching as fundamentally melancholic. In the second part I switch my attention to Deleuze (...) and show how he links together physics and ethics as a way of providing an emancipatory and affirmative philosophy of life and one that aims to defeat sadness. In the conclusion I return to the question of melancholy and indicate how the problem might be best negotiated. (shrink)
This unique book explores Nietzsche’s philosophy at the time of Dawn’s writing and discusses the modern relevance of themes such as fear, superstition, terror, and moral and religious fanaticism. The authors highlight Dawn’s links with key areas of philosophical inquiry, such as “the art of living well,” skepticism, and naturalism. The book begins by introducing Dawn and discussing how to read Nietzsche, his literary and philosophical influences, his relation to German philosophy, and his efforts to advance his ‘free spirit’ philosophy. (...) Subsequent discussions address a wide range of topics relevant to Dawn, including presumptions of customary morality, hatred of the self, free-minded thinking, and embracing science and the passion of knowledge. (shrink)
In this essay I seek to show that a philosophy of modesty informs core aspects of both Nietzsche’s critique of morality and what he intends to replace morality with, namely, an ethics of self-cultivation. To demonstrate this I focus on Dawn: Thoughts on the Prejudices of Morality, a largely neglected text in his corpus where Nietzsche carries out a quite wide-ranging critique of morality, including Mitleid. It is one of Nietzsche’s most experimental works and is best read, I claim, as (...) an Epicurean-inspired critique of the present and an exercise in moral therapy. In the opening sections I draw attention to the wider social dimension of the text and its concern with a morality of compassion, which is rarely done in the literature. I then turn to highlighting Nietzsche’s Epicurean moment, followed by two sections on Nietzsche on the self in which I aim to bring to light his ethics of self-cultivation and show in what ways his revaluation makes central to ethics a modest egoism and care of self. In the conclusion to the essay I provide a contrast between Nietzsche and Kant and deal with reservations readers might have about his ethics. Overall, the essay seeks to make a contribution to an appreciation of Dawn as a work of moral therapy. (shrink)
In this essay I examine the contribution a philosophy of life is able to make to our understanding of morality, including our appreciation of its evolution or development and its future. I focus on two contributions, namely, those of Jean-Marie Guyau and Henri Bergson. In the case of Guyau I show that he pioneers the naturalistic study of morality through a conception of life; for him the moral progress of humanity is bound up with an increasing sociability, involving both the (...) intensification of life and its expansion. In the case of Bergson I show that he also pioneers a novel naturalistic appreciation of morality, one that is keen to demonstrate morality’s two sources and so as to give us a firm grasp of the chances of a moral progress on the part of humanity. I suggest that of the two appreciations of morality Bergson’s is the richer since it contains a set of critical reflections on humanity’s condition that is lacking in Guyau. I conclude by suggesting that Bergson’s idea that modern humanity is confronted with the decision whether it wishes to continue living or not has lost none of its relevance today. (shrink)
Cheerfulness or serenity (Heiterkeit) is one of the most important themes in Nietzsche’s philosophy. Throughout his writings, from first to last, he can be found wrestling with conceptions of cheerfulness and promoting a cheerful mode of philosophizing. Despite the importance and recurrence of the theme of cheerfulness in Nietzsche’s entire œuvre, there have been relatively few studies specifically devoted to it. An important debate on cheerfulness has recently taken place in the literature on Nietzsche between Robert Pippin and Lanier Anderson (...) and Rachel Cristy. Both sides of the debate have explored Nietzsche’s practice of cheerfulness in direct relation to Montaigne. According to Pippin, Nietzsche never succeeds in writing with the kind of cheerfulness of Montaigne. In contrast, Anderson and Cristy have contended that both Nietzsche and Montaigne conceive of cheerfulness as a complex, non-naïve spiritual state or attitude that is to be cultivated through the practice of philosophy as a way of life. According to Anderson and Cristy, this is a deep form of love of life that both Nietzsche and Montaigne practice and perhaps achieve at least in part by and through writing. In this essay, we aim to contribute to this debate by offering a threefold argument. First, we argue that Nietzsche conceives of cheerfulness not only as a psychological ideal, as a desirable state or attitude of the spirit, but also as an aesthetic ideal, as a desirable quality or style of thinking and writing (sections 1–2). Second, we argue that, in addition to Montaigne, Ralph Waldo Emerson is an equally important but neglected influence on Nietzsche’s conception and practice of cheerfulness (section 2). Third, by reconstructing Nietzsche’s self-presentation as a cheerful thinker and writer in the 1886 prefaces and in Ecce homo (1888), we conclude that it is possible to argue that starting from his middle writings Nietzsche thinks and writes cheerfully in some of his works, including a number of his most significant texts (section 3). (shrink)
In this article I explore naturalism as a joyful science by focusing on how Nietzsche and Deleuze appropriate an Epicurean legacy. In the first section I introduce some salient features of Epicurean naturalism and highlight how the study of nature is to guide ethical reflection on the art of living. In the next section I focus on Nietzsche and show the nature and extent of his Epicurean commitments in his middle period writings. In the third and final main section my (...) attention shifts to Deleuze and to showing how he fruitfully demonstrates the intersection of physics and ethics in the Epicurean method of thinking. I am interested in Epicureanism since, as both Nietzsche and Deleuze show, it holds ethics to be central to philosophical inquiry and activity: we study nature not simply as an end in itself but as a way of better understanding how we can promote a flourishing life. Our being in the world is not to be guided by myths and illusions, especially of a supernatural kind, but rather by the affirmation of the positive power of an immanent and multiple nature and by the joy that results from recognizing the diversity of its elements. (shrink)
This volume covers the period between the 1890s and 1930s, a period that witnessed revolutions in the arts and society which set the agenda for the rest of the century. In philosophy, the period saw the birth of analytic philosophy, the development of new programmes and new modes of inquiry, the emergence of phenomenology as a new rigorous science, the birth of Freudian psychoanalysis, and the maturing of the discipline of sociology. This period saw the most influential work of a (...) remarkable series of thinkers who reviewed, evaluated and transformed 19th-century thought. A generation of thinkers - among them, Henri Bergson, Emile Durkheim, Sigmund Freud, Martin Heidegger, Edmund Husserl, Karl Jaspers, Max Scheler, and Ludwig Wittgenstein - completed the disenchantment of the world and sought a new re-enchantment. (shrink)
Nietzsche’s naturalism is a well-rehearsed theme. The latter has become somewhat of an orthodoxy in Anglo-American scholarship, and it is often connected to the rediscovery of Nietzsche’s ethical thought among analytic philosophers. Philosophical naturalism, of course, can mean many different things, and Nietzsche’s rhetoric, his polemical stance and tendency toward hyperbole, are not exactly hallmarks of a philosophical naturalism that situates itself in close proximity to the methods and methodologies of the natural sciences. On the other hand, it is difficult (...) to deny that much of Nietzsche’s work—perhaps even from the early essay on “Truth and Lying in an Extra-moral Sense” onward—speaks to a tradition.. (shrink)
Cheerfulness or serenity is one of the most important themes in Nietzsche’s philosophy. Throughout his writings, from first to last, he can be found wrestling with conceptions of cheerfulness and promoting a cheerful mode of philosophizing. Despite the importance and recurrence of the theme of cheerfulness in Nietzsche’s entire œuvre, there have been relatively few studies specifically devoted to it. An important debate on cheerfulness has recently taken place in the literature on Nietzsche between Robert Pippin and Lanier Anderson and (...) Rachel Cristy. Both sides of the debate have explored Nietzsche’s practice of cheerfulness in direct relation to Montaigne. According to Pippin, Nietzsche never succeeds in writing with the kind of cheerfulness of Montaigne. In contrast, Anderson and Cristy have contended that both Nietzsche and Montaigne conceive of cheerfulness as a complex, non-naïve spiritual state or attitude that is to be cultivated through the practice of philosophy as a way of life. According to Anderson and Cristy, this is a deep form of love of life that both Nietzsche and Montaigne practice and perhaps achieve at least in part by and through writing. In this essay, we aim to contribute to this debate by offering a threefold argument. First, we argue that Nietzsche conceives of cheerfulness not only as a psychological ideal, as a desirable state or attitude of the spirit, but also as an aesthetic ideal, as a desirable quality or style of thinking and writing. Second, we argue that, in addition to Montaigne, Ralph Waldo Emerson is an equally important but neglected influence on Nietzsche’s conception and practice of cheerfulness. Third, by reconstructing Nietzsche’s self-presentation as a cheerful thinker and writer in the 1886 prefaces and in Ecce homo, we conclude that it is possible to argue that starting from his middle writings Nietzsche thinks and writes cheerfully in some of his works, including a number of his most significant texts. (shrink)
Intent upon letting the reader experience the pleasure and intellectual stimulation in reading these classic authors, the How to Read series provides a context and an explanation that will facilitate and enrich your understanding of texts vital to the canon.
This essay looks at Nietzsche in relation to the Epicurean tradition. It focuses on his middle period writings of 1878 texts such as Human, all too Human, Dawn, and The Gay Science heroic-idyllic philosophizing’. At the same time, Nietzsche claims to understand Epicurus differently to everybody else. The essay explores the main figurations of Epicurus we find in his middle period and concludes by taking a critical look at his later and more ambivalent reception of Epicurus.
Nietzsche is no longer a marginal figure in the study of philosophy. This collection of specially commissioned essays reflects the emergence of a serious interest amongst philosophers, sociologists and political theorists. By considering Nietzsche's ideas in the context of the modern philosophical tradition from which it emerged, his importance in contemporary thought is refined and reaffirmed. Modern German thought begins with Kant and has rarely escaped his influence. It is with respect to this Kantian heritage that this volume examines Nietzsche. (...) These essays critically consider Nietzsche's relation to Kant and the post-Kantian tradition. In broad terms it is his relation to the domains of knowledge, ethics and aesthetics, that is through the three Kantian critiques, that Nietzsche's thought is illuminated. This allows a surprising variety of areas and questions, both about Nietzsche and about philosophy to be investigated. (shrink)
This volume aims to inspire a return to the energetics of Nietzsche's prose and the critical intensity of his approach to nihilism. For too long contemporary thought has been dominated by a depressed "what is to be done?" All is regarded to be in vain, nothing is deemed real, there is nothing new seen under the sun. Such a "postmodern" lament is easily confounded with an apathetic reluctance to think engagedly. Hence the contributors here draw on a variety of issues--the (...) future of life, the nature of life-forms, the techno-sciences, the body, religions--as a way of tackling the question of nihilism's pertinence to us now. (shrink)
In this essay I focus on the text Creative Evolution and show that although Bergson intended to make a contribution to the science of biology and to the philosophy of life, the primary aim of the text is to show the need for a fundamental reformation of philosophy. Bergson wants to show how, through an appreciation of the evolution of life, philosophy can expand our perception of the universe. I examine in detail the two essential claims he makes in the (...) text: first, that we have to see the theory of knowledge and the theory of life as deeply related; second, that there is a need to “think beyond the human condition” or human state. Indeed, Bergson conceives philosophy as the discipline that “raises us above the human condition” and makes the effort to “surpass” it. This reveals itself to be something of an extraordinary endeavour since it means bringing the human intellect into rapport with other kinds of consciousness. Moreover, if we do not place our thinking about the nature, character, and limits of knowledge within the context of the evolution of life then we risk uncritically accepting the concepts that have been placed at our disposal. It means we think within pre-existing frames. We need, then, to ask two questions: first, how has the human intellect evolved?, and second, how can we enlarge and go beyond the frames of knowledge available to us? (shrink)
Although the literature on Nietzsche is now voluminous one area where there has surprisingly been very little research concerns Nietzsche on the passions. This essay aims to correct this neglect. My focus is on illuminating Nietzsche on the passions in relation to his primary teaching on self-cultivation. To illuminate his position, I focus attention on examining his relation to Stoic teaching on the passions. If for Nietzsche the Christian mind-set involves a disturbing pathological excess of feeling, the Stoic way of (...) living results for him in a petrified of life devoid of movement and growth. After a consideration of his relation to Stoic teaching I then examine his relation to Spinoza on the emotions or affects. Whilst I acknowledge the affinities between the two thinkers and their criticisms of Stoic teaching, I maintain that it is an error to seek to construe Nietzsche and Spinoza as having an identical teaching on the passions. In the final section of the essay, I provide an appreciation of Nietzsche’s recommendation that instead of demonising the passions in the manner of the Christian psyche and its legacy, or extirpating our passions as recommended by the Stoics, we need to learn how to transform them into joys or delights. (shrink)
Throughout Nietzsche’s writings we find discussion of various human maladies and sicknesses, such as the historical malady and decadence, along withvarious conceptions of a possible cure or therapy. In this essay I argue that Nietzsche’s conception of philosophy’s therapeutic role centres on the protection and promotion of authenticity and explore his preoccupation with authentic existence in each one of his three main intellectual periods. After an opening section on therapeia and paideia in Nietzsche, I focus first on writings from his (...) early period, notably the untimelies on history and Schopenhauer; in the next main section I select Dawn from the middle period as a text that highlights Nietzsche’s continued preoccupation with authenticity; and in the final main section I focus on the late Nietzsche and note the continuities in his lifelong project of self-cultivation and emphasis on the goals of culture. (shrink)
The chapter presents Bergson’s conception of philosophy as a way of life, as a thinking that seeks to make contact with the creativity of life as a whole. This endeavor to alter our vision of the world, and ultimately, our action and sense of being in the world, seeks to operate a “conversion of attention.” For Bergson, such a conversion is tied in with what he calls the “true empiricism” that allows us to experience and think change as that which (...) makes up living reality as a whole. Bergson conceptualizes this move beyond the human in terms of sympathy, a term employed both descriptively, to develop the notion of a sympathetic whole of life in which philosophy as a way of life resituates the self, and prescriptively, as urging us to overcome our estrangement from “the ocean of life” to which we owe our existence. This effort of sympathy takes the form of a spiritual exercise. Not limited to mere contemplation of the world, it transforms the manner in which we perceive the reality of duration and thus opens the path for a different way of living. (shrink)
This book presents a student-friendly introduction to one of Nietzsche's most widely-read and studied texts. "Beyond Good and Evil" contains Nietzsche's mature philosophy of the free spirit. Although it is one of his most widely read texts, it is a notoriously difficult piece of philosophical writing. The authors demonstrate in clear and precise terms why it is to be regarded as Nietzsche's philosophical masterpiece and the work of a revolutionary genius. This "Reader's Guide" is the ideal companion to study, offering (...) guidance on: philosophical and historical context, key themes, reading the text, reception and influence and further reading. "Continuum Reader's Guides are clear, concise and accessible introductions to key texts in literature and philosophy. Each book explores the themes, context, criticism and influence of key works, providing a practical introduction to close reading, guiding students towards a thorough understanding of the text. They provide an essential, up-to-date resource, ideal for undergraduate students. (shrink)
This essay is an explanation of how the concept of the sublime is deployed by Nietzche in Dawn . This text represents a high point in Nietzche's thinking on the sublime. Nietzche, I show, wants us to purify ourselves of the origins and sources of our desire for the sublime because the higher feelings associated with it are bound up with humanity's investment in an imaginary world. However, he does not propose that we simply jettison the sublime but, rather, seek (...) new experiences of it and these will cenre on knowledge and our right to self-experimentation. I suggest that Nietzsche is in effect opening up new "spaces" and "times" for thinking. My interpretation aims to show in what way Nietzsche commits himself to fashioning new sublimities of philosophy, including expanding our appreciation of the beautiful. By focusing on the topic of the sublime I hope to reveal in what way Dawn represents an important moment in the evolution of Nietzsche's conception of the role and tasks of philosophy.Der Aufsatz untersucht, wie der Begriff des Erhabenen von Nietzsche in Morgenröhe verwendet wird, wo er einen Höhepunkt in Nietzsches Denken des Erhabenen bildet. Nietzsche will, so zeige ich, dass wir uns selbst von den Ursprüngen udn Quellen unseres strebens nach dem Erhabenen reinigen, weil die es begleitenden höheren Gefühle mit menschlichen Investionen in eine imaginäre Welt verbunden sind. Er will jedoch nicht, dass wir das Erhabene einfach über Bord werfen, sondern vielmehr nach neuen Erfahrungen des Erhabenen suchen, wobei das Wissen und unser Recht auf Selbstversuche dabei im Zentrum stehen. Ich meine, dass Nietzsche dadurch neue 'Räume' und 'Zeiten' für das Denken öffnet. Meine interpretation soll zeigen, auf welche Weise Neitzsche sich damit auf die Gestaltung neuer Sublimitäten der Philosophie festlegt, einschließlich der Erweiterrung unseres Gefallens am Schönen. Durch die Fokussierung auf das Erhabene hoff ich zeigen zu können, inwiefern Morgenröthe einen bedeutenden Moment in der Evolution von Nietzsches Auffassung über Rolle und Aufgaben der Philosophie darstellt. (shrink)
In this edited volume, Paul Loeb and Matthew Meyer have assembled thirteen contributors to address the topic of Nietzsche and metaphilosophy. We know that Nietzsche was preoccupied with questions about the nature and tasks of philosophy from the very beginning of his intellectual career, notably in his lectures on the pre-Platonic philosophers, and that these questions assume a central role in the writings of his late period, notably BGE.The volume is divided into four main parts. The first part is entitled (...) "Evolving Metaphilosophies" and features three chapters: Marco Brusotti on metaphilosophy and natural history in Nietzsche, Matthew Meyer on the dialectics of Nietzsche's metaphilosophies, and Antoine Panaïoti... (shrink)
There is a tradition of modern French philosophy that contains valuable resources for thinking about the nature and limits of obligation and how a higher calling of life beyond obligation might be conceived. This is a tradition of an ethics of generosity whose best exemplar is perhaps Henri Bergson and that extends in our own time to the writing of Gilles Deleuze.