Nietzsche’s Catharsis: The Theory of Tragedy and the Anthropology of Power. Nietzsche’s conception of catharsis undercuts the Aristotelian tradition by emphasizing that catharsis does not aim at a purification of the passions but at a cleansing of human judgment from moral sentiment. As such, Nietzsche develops a naturalistic counter-model to eighteenth-century theories of pity. By bringing together ancient Greece and the experience of modernity, this counter-model shifts the concept of catharsis into the realm of the political and enriches the theory of tragedy with an anthropology of power. What is at stake in Nietzsche’s discussion of catharsis is an insight into the instability of normative order, which is triggered by the modern experience of the „phenomenon of Napoleon“ as an overcoming of Enlightenment conceptions of moral conscience. If modernity has to be understood along the lines of tragedy, Napoleon Bonaparte is the cathartic event in the realm of the political.
Keywords Catharsis  Modernity  Morality  Napoleon Bonaparte  Pity  Power  Tragedy
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DOI 10.1515/nietzstu-2018-0002
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