Nietzsche, power and politics : rethinking Nietzsche's by Siemens, Herman W., Herman W. Siemans, Vasti Roodt

By Siemens, Herman W., Herman W. Siemans, Vasti Roodt

Nietzsche´s legacy for political idea is a hugely contested region of study this day. With papers representing a large variety of positions, this assortment takes inventory of the vital controversies (Nietzsche as political / anti-political philosopher? Nietzsche and / contra democracy? Arendt and / contra Nietzsche?), in addition to new learn on key strategies (power, the agon, aristocracy, friendship i.a.), on old, modern and futural features of Nietzsche´s political proposal. overseas participants comprise recognized names (Conway, Ansell-Pearson, Hatab, Taureck, Patton, Connolly, Villa, van Tongeren) and younger rising students from a variety of disciplines

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Both authors highlight Nietzsche’s sensitivity to the complex, often unexpected configurations of these two dimensions of power, especially cases where actual power does not simply correlate with the feeling of power. According to Saar, those exercising symbolic power – the ascetic priests, for instance – succeed in turning their lack of real power into a virtue and thereby enhance their feeling of power while experiencing a decrease in real power. Similarly those subjected to the imaginary power exercised by abstract ideals or social institutions may similarly not feel themselves any less powerful, even though their actual capacity for exercising power À that is to say, their agency À is drastically curtailed.

This is no less true of the democratic readings in this volume, as some examples show: Hatab specifically targets ‘sovereignty’ in the sense of self-sufficiency by appealing to amor fati and the interconnectedness of all things for Nietzsche. In Owen’s paper the concept of community plays a key role in connecting Nietzsche’s ethics with ‘political science’ in the Aristotelian sense: Just as Aristotle’s account of virtue or nobility, in order to be effective, required political legislation that would form citizens’ ethical characters and make them receptive to philosophical arguments, so too Nietzsche’s own ethics of nobility and agency requires the formation of an ethical community receptive to his argumentation.

That is to say, biopolitics concerns the exercise of (technocratic) power over human beings at the level of their species existence, which includes the power over life and death exercised in name of the health or well-being of the species as a whole. Lemm argues that Nietzsche’s project of ‘great politics’ can be understood as an attempt to resist this form of power. Stated differently, great politics is concerned with overcoming the transformation (or rather, degeneration) of human life into species life amenable to state regulation and control.

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