Nietzsche's Animal Philosophy: Culture, Politics, and the Animality of the Human Being

Nietzsche's Animal Philosophy: Culture, Politics, and the Animality of the Human Being

Nietzsche's Animal Philosophy: Culture, Politics, and the Animality of the Human Being

Nietzsche's Animal Philosophy: Culture, Politics, and the Animality of the Human Being

Synopsis

This book explores the significance of human animality in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche and provides the first systematic treatment of the animal theme in Nietzsche's corpus as a whole Lemm argues that the animal is neither a random theme nor a metaphorical device in Nietzsche's thought. Instead, it stands at the center of his renewal of the practice and meaning of philosophy itself. Lemm provides an original contribution to on-going debates on the essence of humanism and its future.

At the center of this new interpretation stands Nietzsche's thesis that animal life and its potential for truth, history, and morality depends on a continuous antagonism between forgetfulness (animality) and memory (humanity). This relationship accounts for the emergence of humanity out of animality as a function of the antagonism between civilization and culture.

By taking the antagonism of culture and civilization to be fundamental for Nietzsche's conception of humanity and its becoming, Lemm gives a new entry point into the political significance of Nietzsche's thought. The opposition between civilization and culture allows for the possibility that politics is more than a set of civilizational techniques that seek to manipulate, dominate, and exclude the animality of the human animal. By seeing the deep-seated connections of politics with culture, Nietzsche orients politics beyond the domination over life and, instead, offers the animality of the human being a positive, creative role in the organization of life. Lemm's book presents Nietzsche as the thinker of an emancipatory and affirmative biopolitics.

This book will appeal not only to readers interested in Nietzsche, but also to anyone interested in the theme of the animal in philosophy, literature, cultural studies and the arts, as well as those interested in the relation between biological life and politics.

Excerpt

The theme of the animal was largely overlooked in twentieth-century Nietzsche scholarship and has only very recently started to attract attention in philosophy and the humanities. This book aims to provide the first systematic treatment of the animal in Nietzsche’s philosophy as a whole. I hope to show that the animal is neither a random theme nor a metaphorical device, but rather that it stands at the center of Nietzsche’s renewal of the practice and meaning of philosophy itself. Nietzsche’s Animal Philosophy critically reexamines Nietzsche’s views on culture and civilization, politics and morality, and history and truth based on the various perspectives manifest through a consideration of the human being as part of a continuum of animal life.

Throughout his writings Nietzsche speaks of the human being as an animal. What distinguishes the human animal from other animals is its culture. Nietzsche’s Animal Philosophy pursues the dual questions of what it means for an animal to have culture and how animality engenders culture. in contrast to the Western traditions of humanism and Enlightenment, Nietzsche proposes to investigate culture not as a rational and moral phenomenon, but as a phenomenon of life. Viewed in this way, what makes culture interesting is that it is taken up by animality and not, as these traditions assume, because culture is the means through which humanity separates or emancipates itself from animality. in her groundbreaking book Beasts of Modern Imagination, Margot Norris calls this new approach to culture from the perspective of life “biocentric.” She defines . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.