Will to Power: Nietzsche's Transcendental Idealism

Journal of Nietzsche Studies 52 (2):260-289 (2021)
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Abstract

This article argues that in Beyond Good and Evil (BGE) Nietzsche defends “will to power” as a transcendentally ideal condition of objectivity, in the sense in which Kant considers, say, space, time, or the concepts of substance and causation to be such conditions. The article shows how Nietzsche’s engage-ment with the transcendental idealist arguments of his Kantian contemporaries leads him to reject naturalism and to adopt a peculiarly transcendental kind of skepticism, which rejects as unjustified the conditions that would make objec-tivity possible. The article then turns to the argument for “will to power” in BGE 36, showing that it is best read as defending a transcendentally ideal condition of objectivity, and thus as responding to transcendental skepticism. The article concludes by elaborating on this understanding of “will to power,” particularly in relation to the sense of causality that Nietzsche invokes and in comparison with Kant’s own transcendental claims.

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