History of Modern Philosophy: Nietzschean and Post-Nietzschean Aesthetics

Vakbeschrijving History of Modern Philosophy: Nietzschean and Post-Nietzschean Aesthetics
Collegejaar: 2008-2009
Studiegidsnummer: RMR653
  • dr. H.W. Siemens
Voertaal: Engels
Blackboard: Onbekend
EC: 10.0
Niveau: 600
Periode: Semester 1
  • Geen Keuzevak
  • Geen Contractonderwijs
  • Geen Exchange
  • Geen Study Abroad
  • Geen Avondonderwijs
  • Geen A-la-Carte en Aanschuifonderwijs
  • Geen Honours Class

Friedrich Nietzsche is foremost among those philosophers who have placed art and aesthetic values at the very centre of thinking. This course will examine the fate of ‘the aesthetic’ in Nietzsche’s thought and a number of post-Nietzschean thinkers. The chief question concerns the relation between theory and art, and especially the provocative and enigmatic claim in ‘The Birth of Tragedy’ that art is the ‘necessary correlative and supplement of theory’. Does this situate art outside thought in a gesture that rejects reason in favour of its irrational other (Habermas), or does it name a more complex, internal relation in which art, in its very otherness, makes good the failures of reason? The nature and functions of Nietzsche’s concept of art will be traced from the early writings, which side with art against theory, through ‘Human, All Too Human’, where Nietzsche sides with theory against art, to the existential fusion of art and theory in the ‘Leidenschaft der Erkenntnis’ of ‘The Gay Science’.

In the later writings, we will focus on art and the ascetic ideal (‘Genealogy of Morals’), the ‘physiology of art’, and art as ‘counter-movement to nihilism’ from the late Nachlass. This provides the transition to post-Nietzschean thought, beginning with Heidegger’s lecture-series ‘Der Wille zur Macht als Kunst’. Further post-Nietzscheans to be considered include: Derrida on style, woman and the overcoming of metaphysics; Foucault, Bataille and Blanchot on transgression; Sarah Kofman on metaphor; Blondel on the body and culture; Blanchot, Deleuze and Greiner on aphoristic or ‘fragmentary’ writing; Baudrillard on simulacrum and ‘Schein’. Particular attention will be given to the sharp differences dividing French from German appropriations of Nietzsche’s thought.

The question of art and the aesthetic will be taken very broadly, with special emphasis on concepts such as: taste, genius, aesthetic ‘Schein’, the reception and judgement of art, poiesis, drama and the figure of the actor, the classical, metaphor, style, culture, and the relation of art to truth and illusion. Students will be able to focus on themes of special interest in aesthetics within the framework of Nietzschean and post-Nietzschean thought.


Research seminar


Active student participation – preparation, presentation, term paper


Various texts from the ‘Kritische Studienausgabe’ (DTV/de Gruyter, 1980ff.) of Nietzsche’s writings, available in the philosophy reading room of the library. English and/or Dutch translations can also be used, but the German texts will be discussed in meetings.
Key post-Nietzschean texts include:

*Allison, D., ‘The new Nietzsche’ (MIT 1985). *Bataille, G., Visions of Excess (Univ. Minnesota 1993). *Blanchot, M., The Infinite Conversation (Univ. Minnesota 1993). *Blondel, E., Nietzsche: The Body and Culture (Athlone 1991). *Derrida, J., Spurs : Nietzsche’s styles (Univ. Chicago 1979). *Habermas, J., The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity (MIT 1987). *Heidegger, M., Nietzsche Bd. 1 (Neske 1961). *Kofman, S., _Nietzsche and Metaphor _(Athlone, 1993). *Megill, A., _Prophets of Extremity : Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, Derrida _(Univ.California 1985).


see Timetable MPhil in Philosophy: Rationality 2008-2009


Please register for this course with the student administration: y.van.eijk@phil.leidenuniv.nl


dr. H.W. Siemens ( h.w.siemens@phil.leidenuniv.nl)


Compulsory course for second-year students in specialisation Practical Rationality.