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ISSN 0869-5377
The Logos Journal

Nietzsche for Losers?

Author: Dews Peter

About author:
Professor, University of Essex. Address: Wivenhoe Park, CO4 3SQ Colchester, UK. E-mail:

In his article, Peter Dews begins with reflections on the characteristic critical dynamics of European philosophy since Kant, then moves to an assessment of one of the main philosophical issues at stake — the role of transcendental argument in the thesis of will to power — and to a detailed discussion of Heidegger’s relation to Nietzsche and nihilism. The author suggests that the interpretative strategy chosen by Malcolm Bull in his book “Anti-Nietzsche” (“reading like a loser”) can work only within a nietzschean “ecology of value,” but not in the framework of Heidegger’s conception of Being and its “clearing.” Heidegger and Nietzsche are ultimately asymmetrical: the latter maintains some ecology of value through a hierarchy of people that is reestablished once the nihilism is transcended, while Heidegger contents himself with a minimal relation to Being which is not eliminated even in the “outer dark” Bull describes. The position of the “subhuman” is equivalent to that of Aristotle’s plant, notably of one who is excluded from any discourse, so he can contend nothing. Dews offers an alternative to both Nietzsche and Heidegger in the form of the concept of subject-subject relation, developed by many thinkers, from Hegel to Feuerbach to Levinas. This, according to the author, helps move away from Bull and his idea of the “subhuman” in order to find a new foundation for value-positing, free of any ecology.

Keywords: critical philosophy; Nietzsche; Malcolm Bull; transcendental argument; reading like a loser; will to power; ecology of value

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