_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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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 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)
The book seeks to illuminate Bergson's view that philosophy is the discipline of thinking that makes the effort to think beyond the human condition so as to extend our perception of the universe. In the book I explore Bergson on time and freedom, on memory, on his reformation of philosophy in Creative Evolution, on religion, on ethics, and on education and the art of life.
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)
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 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)
Nietzsche is no longer a marginal figure in the study of philosophy. This collection of specially commissioned essays reflects the emergence of a serious interest amongst philosophers, sociologists and political theorists. By considering Nietzsche's ideas in the context of the modern philosophical tradition from which it emerged, his importance in contemporary thought is refined and reaffirmed. Modern German thought begins with Kant and has rarely escaped his influence. It is with respect to this Kantian heritage that this volume examines Nietzsche. (...) These essays critically consider Nietzsche's relation to Kant and the post-Kantian tradition. In broad terms it is his relation to the domains of knowledge, ethics and aesthetics, that is through the three Kantian critiques, that Nietzsche's thought is illuminated. This allows a surprising variety of areas and questions, both about Nietzsche and about philosophy to be investigated. (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)
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)
In 1881 Nietzsche discovered that he had a precursor: Spinoza. In a letter to Franz Overbeck postmarked July 30—the eve of the experience of the eternal recurrence—he enumerated the points of doctrine that he believed he shared with Spinoza, including the denial of free will, a moral world order, and evil, and he also mentioned the task of "making knowledge the most powerful affect [die Erkenntniß zum mächtigsten Affekt zu machen]". A note of the same year reads, "Spinoza: We are (...) only determined in our actions by desires and affects. Knowledge must be an affect in order to be a motive. I say: it must be a passion to be a motive". Nietzsche's first published reference to the "passion of... (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)
This co-authored chapter offers a reconstruction of Bergson's conception of the relationship between the political and religion focusing on "The Two Sources of Morality and Religion". Bergson's claims and arguments are related to those of Nietzsche with a focus on the themes of critique, immanence and affirmation.
The chapter presents Bergson’s conception of philosophy as a way of life, as a thinking that seeks to make contact with the creativity of life as a whole. This endeavor to alter our vision of the world, and ultimately, our action and sense of being in the world, seeks to operate a “conversion of attention.” For Bergson, such a conversion is tied in with what he calls the “true empiricism” that allows us to experience and think change as that which (...) makes up living reality as a whole. Bergson conceptualizes this move beyond the human in terms of sympathy, a term employed both descriptively, to develop the notion of a sympathetic whole of life in which philosophy as a way of life resituates the self, and prescriptively, as urging us to overcome our estrangement from “the ocean of life” to which we owe our existence. This effort of sympathy takes the form of a spiritual exercise. Not limited to mere contemplation of the world, it transforms the manner in which we perceive the reality of duration and thus opens the path for a different way of living. (shrink)
_Beyond Good and Evil_ is Nietzsche's first sustained philosophical treatment of issues important to him. Unlike the expository prose of the essayistic period, the stylized forays and jabs of the aphoristic period, and the lyrical-philosophical rhetoric of the Zarathustra-period, _Beyond Good and Evil_ inscribes itself boldly into the history of philosophy, challenging ancient and modern notions of philosophy's achievements and insisting on a new task for "new philosophers." This is a watershed book for Nietzsche and for philosophy in the modern (...) era. _On the Genealogy of Morality_ applies Nietzsche's celebrated genealogical method, honed in the earlier aphoristic writings, to the problem of morality's influence on the human species. In three treatises that strikingly anticipate insights appearing much later in Freud's _Civilization and Its Discontents_, Nietzsche provides an anthropological psychograph of our species, revealing the origins of the concepts of good and evil, the roles played by guilt and bad conscience, and the persistence of ascetic ideals. Manifesting a hopeful yet unsentimental assessment of the human condition, these books resonated throughout the 20th century and continue to exert broad appeal. (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)
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)