Walking Nietzsche's tightrope: a thesis for no one

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Virginia Tech

The philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche is thought-provoking and enigmatic. This work is an exploration of three of the bulwarks of Nietzsche's philosophy and an attempt to trace their political implications. Analyses of Nietzsche’s concepts of the will to power, eternal return, and the Übermensch are presented in an effort to build a coherent vision of Nietzsche’s work. The will to power has been interpreted in many ways, and in this text I make the case that it is a drive for self-cultivation and finding one’s own direction in life. Eternal return is presented as a mythic idea which Nietzsche thought would spur people to live each moment as if they wished it would recur eternally, rather than judging their actions by future promises or past glories. The Übermensch is the Nietzschean individual who believes in eternal return and engages in self-cultivation through the will to power. There are interesting political implications which follow from this philosophical framework, which I discuss in the final chapter. Based on the analysis of the three concepts mentioned above, I argue that Nietzsche thought societal problems were never cured or even lessened by politics or any political theory.

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche