This book explores Nietzsche's philosophical naturalism in its historical context, showing that his position is best understood against the background of encounters between neo-Kantianism and the life sciences in the nineteenth century. Analyzing most of Nietzsche's writings from the late 1860s onwards, Christian J. Emden reconstructs Nietzsche's naturalism and argues for a new understanding of his account of nature and normativity. Emden proposes historical reasons why Nietzsche came to adopt the position he did; his genealogy of values and his account of a will to power are as much influenced by Kantian thought as they are by nineteenth-century debates on teleology, biological functions, and theories of evolution. This rich and wide-ranging study will be of interest to scholars and students of Nietzsche, the history of modern philosophy, intellectual history, and history of science.
Christian J. Emden is Professor of German Intellectual History and Political Thought at Rice University. He is the author of Friedrich Nietzsche and the Politics of History (2008), and Nietzsche on Language, Consciousness, and the Body (2005), and recently co-edited Beyond Habermas: Democracy, Knowledge, and the Public Sphere (2012), and Changing Perceptions of the Public Sphere (2012).
Introduction; Part I. Varieties of Philosophical Naturalism: 1. Introduction; 2. The neo-Kantian stance; 3. Nietzsche's 'anti-Darwinism'?; 4. Psychology, experiment, and scientific practice; 5. Three kinds of naturalism; Part II. Evolution and the Limits of Teleology: 6. Introduction; 7. Problems with purpose; 8. The politics of progress; 9. Naturalizing Kant; 10. Genealogy and path dependence; Part III. Genealogy, Nature, and Normativity: 11. Introduction; 12. 'Darwinism's' metaphysical mistake; 13. Living things and the will to power; 14. Toward a natural history of normativity; 15. 'Naturalism in morality'; Bibliography; Index.