Nietzsche on free will, autonomy and the sovereign individual

Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 80 (1):339-357 (2006)
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This paper aims to distinguish a conception of ‘free will’ that Nietzsche opposes (that of the pure agent unaffected by contingencies of character and circumstance) and one that he supports. In Human, All Too Human Nietzsche propounds the ‘total unfreedom’ of the will. But by the time of Beyond Good and Evil and the Genealogy he is more concerned (a) to trace the affective psychological states underlying beliefs in both free will and ‘unfree will’, (b) to suggest that the will might become free in certain individuals, a matter of having a consistent strong character, self-knowledge, and ability to create values. The paper explores the kind of autonomy required in agents who would ‘revalue’ existing values.



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Christopher Janaway
University of Southampton

Citations of this work

Nietzsche on art and freedom.Aaron Ridley - 2007 - European Journal of Philosophy 15 (2):204–224.
Pulling oneself up by the hair: understanding Nietzsche on freedom.Claire Kirwin - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (1):82-99.

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