Nietzsche and Spinoza: From Ontology to Ethics
AuthorJacobsen, Kim André
What do two of the most widely recognized modern philosophers, Friedrich Nietzsche and Benedictus de Spinoza, have in common? One would believe that they were quite different, as Nietzsche famously wrote “God is dead”, while Spinoza claimed that God is everything. There are actually several similarities in the philosophies of the two thinkers. Nietzsche claims that Spinoza shared his own appreciation of insight. Insight is an important part of both philosophers’ ethical theories, as both aim at instructing people to understand the world in a complex way. Such a complex understanding of the world is a good in itself according to both of them, and is therefore conducive to a better way of life. Nietzsche and Spinoza both arrive at this conclusion after investigating the nature of knowledge as part of their respective metaphysical philosophies. Despite the similarity in their ethical theories, they have very different ideas about cognition. Spinoza claims that humans can use their intellect in order to derive eternal laws organizing the universe, while Nietzsche claims that all attempts at making genuine eternal laws are doomed to fail. This difference in their metaphysical understanding gives rise to the central concepts of Nietzsche’s and Spinoza’s ethics, amor fati and amor intellectualis dei. I agree with Yirmiyahu Yovel who claims that these two concepts can provide an adequate verbal representation of the complex relationship between Nietzsche and Spinoza.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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