_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)
In this book chapter I examine Bergson's writings and ideas in relation to the conception of 'philosophy as a way of life'. I take my cue from Pierre Hadot who revealed that for him as a young student of philosophy at the Sorbonne, Bergsonism was not an abstract, conceptual philosophy, but rather assumed the form of a new way of seeing the world.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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 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)
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.
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)
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)
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 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)
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.
Neste artigo sigo uma sugestão de Pierre Hadot pela qual ele, desde que era um jovem estudante, entendia que “o bergsonismo não era uma filosofia abstrata e conceptual, mas uma nova maneira de ver a si e ao mundo”. A Filosofia para Bergson possui assim dois objetivos principais: ampliar a percepção humana; aprimorar a capacidade humana de agir e de viver. Examino alguns aspectos centrais da reforma bergsoniana da Filosofia, cuja ambição é levar a Filosofia além da academia, inclusive das (...) disputas entre diferentes escolas filosóficas. O novo conhecimento que assim obtivermos nos possibilitará duas coisas: aprimorará a especulação filosófica – o que contribui para uma ampliação de nossa percepção -, estimulará e iluminará a vida cotidiana, inclusive aprimorando a nossa capacidade de agir e de viver. (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)
Some significant receptions of Epicurean philosophy take place in nineteenth century European thought. For Marx, writing in the 1840s, and in defiance of Hegel’s negative assessment, Epicurus is the ‘greatest representative of the Greek enlightenment’,1 whilst for Jean-Marie Guyau, writing in the 1870s, Epicurus is the original free spirit, ‘Still today it is the spirit of old Epicurus who, combined with new doctrines, works away at and undermines Christianity.’ 2 For Nietzsche, Epicurus is one of the greatest human beings to (...) have graced the earth and the inventor of ‘heroic-idyllic philosophizing’.3 Here my focus is on the reading of Epicureanism to be found in Bergson’s commentary on Lucretius’s remarkable poem, De Rerum Natura. For Bergson the task Lucretius sets himself is a ‘pioneering one’, one that will serve humanity, in particular making the Romans aware of previously unknown or misunderstood truths. In order to demonstrate these truths with precision it was necessary for Lucretius to be acquainted with Greek philosophy, and especially the teaching of Epicurus. (shrink)
There is a pressing need to think the Heidegger affair. There are several states of urgency, and thus the affair is not the exclusive province of the political or politics. There is an urgency of thought.1A union of state and philosophy can make sense only if philosophy promises to be unconditionally useful to the state, that is to say, to set usefulness to the state higher than the truth. It would be splendid of course for the state if it also (...) had truth in its pay and service; but the state itself well knows that it is part of the essence of truth that it never accepts pay or stands in anyone's service. 2. (shrink)
According to Krzysztof Michalski, Nietzsche’s intellectual project, from start to finish, has an overarching and unifying theme, namely a reflection on time, including the passing of human life, the emergence of new things, and the general finitude of existence. For him, then, it is possible to organize Nietzsche’s thought into a coherent whole around the concept of “eternity,” where eternity signifies a dimension of time, indeed, the core of it, its essence and engine. Typically, we think of eternity as a (...) refutation of time and of becoming, signaling an infinite prolongation. The author, however, wishes to show that eternity is what can explain the transformation of the present into the past and that it comes to .. (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)