Nietzsche's last idol
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 16:10 by Jean-Etienne Patrick Joullié
This thesis analyses the notion of will to power formulated by Friedrich Nietzsche. Adapted from the romantic idea of will, Nietzsche hoped to make will to power the centrepiece of his philosophy and the basis on which a revaluation of all values would be possible. In all aspects of this ambitious project, Nietzsche encountered problems that were to prove insurmountable. The very criticisms he had directed at his predecessors returned to sabotage his plans. -- Nietzsche believed that the ascetic ideals of his time devalued life and diminished man. Instead, he extolled Homeric ethics and promoted a naturalistic epistemology, taking will to power as his yardstick for both. However, his underlying romanticism ensured that his ethics and epistemology were aligned and based on an otherworldly conception. Will to power is asceticism interpreted romantically. -- Following the Romantics, Nietzsche criticised materialism for its underlying world dualism and lack of an internal dynamic. For him, the world is will to power. However, individuation is impossible if the world is only will to power. Insofar as it is based on the concept of power, will to power is a surface interpretation. Will to power as a theory of actuality is materialism interpreted romantically. -- For Nietzsche, psychology is based on an erroneous Platonic-Christian-Cartesian ontology. According to his view, man is a locus of psycho-physiological wills to power. Yet his opposition to reductionism and his proto-existentialistic stance demand an ontology that is not reducible to physiology. Will to power is the soul interpreted romantically. -- Will to power is a stillborn philosophical chimera: even with an element of naturalism, romanticism cannot be reconciled with ancient heroism. Nietzsche's attempts to erect a new philosophy of (will to) power ended in failure and it is reasonable to believe that Nietzsche recognised this.