Nietzsche's Functional Disagreement with Stoicism: Eternal Recurrence, Ethical Naturalism, and Teleology

History of Philosophy Quarterly 38 (2):175-195 (2021)
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Several scholars align Nietzsche’s philosophy with Stoicism because of their naturalist approaches to ethics and doctrines of eternal re- currence. Yet this alignment is difficult to reconcile with Nietzsche’s criticisms of Stoicism’s ethical ideal of living according to nature by dispassionately accepting fate—so much so that some conclude that Nietzsche’s rebuke of Stoicism undermines his own philosophical project. I argue that affinities between Nietzsche and Stoicism belie deeper disagreement about teleology, which, in turn, yields different understandings of nature and human flourishing, so that Nietzsche’s objections to Stoicism support his commitments to ethical naturalism and to affirming life’s eternal recurrence.

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James Mollison
Purdue University


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