The Incarnation of the Free Spirits in Nietzsche: A Continuum of the Triple Dialectic

Kritike 12 (1):250-276 (2018)
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Most studies on Nietzsche seldom associate him with the dialectic method. We readily think of Socrates, Hegel, and Marx when we hear of dialectic, but very rarely, if at all, of Nietzsche. To date, very few studies on Nietzsche have claimed that one of the German philosopher's underpinning philosophical methodologies in his literary oeuvre is the dialectic. This paper thus intends to show that Nietzsche has been employing the dialectic throughout his writings, especially in his treatment of the "free spirits"-a recurring subject in his different compositions. To do this, I will first revisit the meaning of dialectic in Socrates, Hegel, and Marx and subsequently argue that in Nietzsche, a type of dialectic akin to Hegel's permeates his writings. In the next parts of this paper, I will discuss in-depth how for Nietzsche, the incarnation of the free spirits involves not just one, but a continuum of triple dialectic. I will argue that to become a free spirit, one must constantly apply the dialectics of (1) criticality and openness, (2) unlearning and relearning, and (3) overcoming and becoming. These dialectics, in my view, are the necessary conditions for any individual to be truly free. In this paper, I will importantly highlight that these dialectics run through Nietzsche's works starting from the early up to the final period of his literary productivity.

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Alexis Deodato Itao
Cebu Normal University


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