On Nietzsche’s Concept of ‘European Nihilism’

European Review 22 (2):196-208 (2014)
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Abstract

In Nietzsche, ‘European nihilism’ has at its core valuelessness, meaninglessness and senselessness. This article argues that Nietzsche is not replacing God with the nothing, but rather that he regards ‘European nihilism’ as an ‘in-between state’ that is necessary for getting beyond Christian morality. An important characteristic of a Nietzschean philosopher is his ‘will to responsibility’. One of his responsibilities consists of the creation of the values and the concepts that are needed in order to overcome the intermediate state of nihilism. For prevailing over nihilism in science, Nietzsche suggests drawing on philosophy for the creation of values and drawing on art in order to create beautiful surfaces that are based on these values. He regards science as a cultural system that rests on contingent grounds. Therefore, his work is concerned with the responsible construction of the narratives of science in such a way that they enhance agency and promote a life-affirming future.

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