Nietzsche and overcoming nihilism

Affirming life in the human condition

Should we embrace nihilism, as Nolen Gertz suggests, or try to overcome it? For Nietzsche, nihilism must be overcome – if we're strong enough. The key, argues Alex Silk, is to see how nihilistic beliefs – that, say, nothing matters – derive from nihilistic feelings and bodily states. Understanding the basic features of human nature and experience at the root of nihilism paves the way toward a healthier, affirming perspective on ourselves and human life. Nietzsche’s rhetorical style helps us incorporate such a perspective by engaging our feelings as well as our rational faculties.

 

“Nihilism”: what?

There is a popular conception of Nietzsche as nihilist and arch “anti” figure of all things moral. “Conclud[ing] that there is nothing good, nothing beautiful, nothing sublime, nothing evil in itself” (D 210) [1] might

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