Throughout his writing career Nietzsche advocated the affirmation of earthly life as a way to counteract nihilism and asceticism. This volume takes stock of the complexities and wide-ranging perspectives that Nietzsche brings to bear on the problem of life’s becoming on Earth by engaging various interpretative paradigms reaching from existentialist to Darwinist readings of Nietzsche.
In an age in which the biological sciences claim to have unlocked the deepest secrets and codes of life, the essays in this volume propose a more skeptical view. Life is both what is closest and what is furthest from us, because life experiments through us as much as we experiment with it, because life keeps our thinking and our habits always moving, in a state of recurring nomadism. Nietzsche’s philosophy is perhaps the clearest expression of the antinomy contained in the idea of “studying” life and in the Socratic ideal of an “examined” life and remains a deep source of wisdom about living.
“This exciting collection of essays challenges existing interpretations of several key moments of Nietzsche’s philosophy, especially his understanding of biological life and what it means for human beings to affirm life. Individual chapters cast new light on his relationship to thinkers such as Darwin, Emerson, Empedocles, and Hegel. This immensely rich book should be read by everyone interested in contemporary Nietzsche scholarship!”
Scientia Professor of Philosophy, University of New South Wales, Australia
“From his earliest work, where the philosopher’s task was to ‘look at science through the optic of the artist, but also to look at art through the optic of life,’ to his final critiques of nihilism and the ascetic ideal for their inability to affirm or enhance life, Nietzsche’s thinking never strayed from the perspective of life. But what does Nietzsche mean by ‘life’? And what would it mean to affirm it? Rather than concede to the biological and evolutionary sciences the task of unlocking the secret codes of life, Vanessa Lemm brings together in this timely volume essays by an international array of leading Nietzsche scholars who examine from each of the three dominant approaches to Nietzsche interpretation—existentialist, naturalist, and poststructuralist Nietzsche’s insight that the becoming of biological life is of the utmost normative significance to human beings.”
—Alan D. Schrift
“Vanessa Lemm is one of the most original Nietzsche scholars working today and an expert on a key aspect of Nietzsche’s thought: animal life. Nietzsche and the Becoming of Life presents original interpretations of Nietzsche’s works, addressing his conception of life from the observation point of topics such as naturalism, evolutionary biology, bodily experience, normativity, justice, and self-experimentation. It is a much welcome addition to Nietzsche studies.”
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“The roster of contributors is impressive, comprising top-notch Nietzsche scholars from North and South America, as well as Europe. The seventeen papers collected here represent a diverse but coherent and complementary range of interpretive approaches, all of which focus on different aspects of Nietzsche’s conception of life and related topics. A collection like this is a real boon to Nietzsche studies.”