Naturalism and Anti-Naturalism in Nietzsche

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Nietzsche has been associated with naturalism due to his arguments that morality, religion, metaphysics, and consciousness are products of natural biological organisms and ultimately natural phenomena. The subject and its mental life are only comprehensible in relation to natural desires, drives, impulses, and instincts. I argue that such typical natu-ralizing tendencies do not exhaust Nietzsche’s project, since they occur in the context of his critique of “nature” and metaphysical, speculative, and scientific naturalisms. Nie-tzsche challenges otherworldly projections of this-worldly beings, as his naturalistic in-terpreters claim, but further the idolization of immanent worldly natural phenomena, in-cluding science itself. “Nature” is an idealization of natural organisms and environments in which its construction, projection, and interpretation is forgotten. Nietzsche strategical-ly uses naturalistic scientific strategies of explanation and demystification, while demys-tifying science, positivism, and naturalism for the sake of life. These do not provide either certainties or foundations for knowledge or life. Naturalism would be anti-natural if it denies of multiplicity and conflict of the forces of life, bracketing the natural and his-torical conditions of existence, and the interpretive and perspectival character of life and knowledge. The nexus of nature and history in Nietzsche is better clarified through his portrayal of the feeling of life and its intensification, attenuation, and transformation in relation to the forces and conditions of life, which encompass processes of socialization and interpretive and artistic individuation in the context of a life.
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Archival date: 2019-01-13
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