The affirmation of life: Nietzsche on the overcoming of nihilism (review)

Journal of the History of Philosophy 47 (3):pp. 480-481 (2009)
This is an important, curious book that is worth the effort it takes to get through it. It makes a distinctive case for the centrality of Nietzsche's grappling with nihilism, giving content to his notoriously thin notion of "affirming life," and it offers a nuanced account of "will to power," specifically in relation to Schopenhauer's "will to live." Among its curiosities are its method of extensive reliance on the collection of notes published as The Will to Power and its characterization of a paradox at the core of Nietzsche's project: affirming life turns on embracing the idea that "will to power requires pain as one of the conditions of its satisfaction" . Only the second of these can be discussed here. And while the writing style tediously resembles a form of scholasticism that gets in the way of understanding what exactly Reginster is arguing, the book repays the reader's forbearance by offering some genuinely provocative ideas.Reginster's main project is to show how nihilism and its solution are central to Nietzsche's thinking about the "affirmation of life." This hinges on revaluing suffering as intrinsic to satisfying an ultimate desire to overcome resistance. In a nutshell, that is Nietzsche's "doctrine of the will to power," and it leads Reginster to claim that the
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DOI 10.1353/hph.0.0145
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