The concept of free will is thoroughly of significance to German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche just as it is of relevance to all other existentialist philosophers alike. In understanding Nietzsche’s account against free will, it is of utmost importance to first be aware of his theory on human nature in general as the two are interconnected. For a strong believer in free will, Nietzsche’s philosophy might simply be regarded as the ‘other’ or the opposite view, that is, a determinist view of human nature. Nietzsche’s view, however, is not necessarily deterministic per se and it is wrong to label him as such since he goes beyond the belief that all our actions are pre-determined. While it seems as though Nietzsche explicitly denies the existence
He ‘studied the nature of the human condition as an important philosophical problem’; which can be used as a broad definition of existentialism. His works are utterly complex and thus susceptible to vastly diverse interpretations. Nietzsche does not write directly of angst but he highlights the human fear of truth and our incorrect grasp on freedom. He suggests that we rely on the simplification of the truth, attempting to concretize concepts in a world where there is no actual objectivity. He states that absolute truth is an illusion and the search for certainty, displayed by Descartes, is born of out of fear.
For Nietzsche „Each person has a fixed psycho-physical constitution, which defines him as a particular type of person”, in this sense, substance must be understood and as consequence, people’s actions are determined by their non-conscious-type facts. On this basis, he argues the issue of free will. The „moralities” which he criticises, admit the presupposition that the agent is morally responsible because he/she has free will, but Nietzsche argues that for this to be valid, he/she would have to be causa sui (self-caused, or the cause of itself – see Kant). As each person is a type, and his/her type is predetermined, it cannot be self- caused; therefore free will does not exist. Will, for Nietzsche, is basically a raw impulse, the effect of type-facts, an impulse of life underscored by Eros, which is reaffirming and which he calls Will to Power, a concept which I will contextualize later on in this
For example, Kant upholds the notion of a universal, a priori law. Instead, Nietzsche rejects the existence of structures that objectively determine such concepts, claiming them to be mere projections of a week will. As such, in ‘Beyond Good and Evil’, he contends: ‘there are no moral phenomena at all, only moral
In the notebook(1) excerpts published as The Will to Power Nietzsche describes nihilism as ‘ambiguous’ in that it can be symptomatic of either strength or weakness. Nietzsche claims that nihilism is a necessary step in the transition to a revaluation of all values. Passive nihilism is characterised by a weak will, and active nihilism by a strong will. Nietzsche emphasises that nihilism is merely a means to an end, and not an end in itself. Nihilism, according to Nietzsche, is the most extreme form of pessimism.
I agree that nobody can have true moral responsibility for what they do as well because if that were the case, I would also have to be responsible for my character, personality, and motivational structure which I cannot be. An automatic rebuttal to this claim would be; What if I change my attitude or change my character, wouldn’t I then be responsible or who I am? The answer is no because even if you change the way you are, it would have been caused by or lead from the way you were which is a way that you are not responsible for. So you cannot be responsible for the “new person” that you are now, which ultimately solidifies Strawson’s argument. For clarity, responsibility has different meanings legally and morally.
If Nietzsche’s acclamation of subjective morality is accepted, how then do we get the standard for assessing men’s actions? Presumably he is oblivious of the fact that proposing or positing different moralities for different set of individuals in the society can hardly work. It does not even augur well for communal existence. It is like a reversal to the state of nature in which individuals lived according to their diverse selfish interests irrespective of their consequences to other men. For example, in our Nigerian context, if this aspect of Nietzsche’s master morality should be applied I don’t think there would be anything called Nigeria today.
In some respect, we can see here one of the seeds of Nietzsche’s later intuitions, and I believe there is no harm in employing them to elucidate this point. For example, in Beyond Good and Evil (from here on BGE), morality is described as a perspective which produces a narrowing of one’s own horizon. Morality, far from telling the truth about the world, is simply an expression of good faith toward the moral view of a particular group. Therefore, all that moralists do is in fact to argue in favour of a perspective which is grounded on their own prejudice and seeks secretly to confirm them
Besides Christianity, humanitarian democracy and socialism which Nietzsche considers as secularized offspring of Christianity, also promote the spread of slave morality. In other words, he attacks Christianity for spreading the decadent herd morality with its ascetic ideals which he regards as the arch enemy of his humanistic conception of existence. Furthermore, Christianity according to Nietzsche debases man and stunts his intellectual pursuit and equally destroys the best part of man. Christianity he
In my opinion, both science and technology try to make us think that God doesn’t truth exist, just like Art was given to us to prevent us dying of truth. (Deleuze, 1983, p. 209) Nihilism spoke to an unrefined type of positivism and realism, a rebel against the set up social request; it refuted all power practiced by the state, by the congregation, or by the family. It constructs its conviction with respect to only logical truth; science would be the arrangement of every social issue. All disasters, nihilists accepted, got from a solitary source—obliviousness—which science alone would overcome. I have come to a conclusion that there is something in the technology we are using to connect to the world, which is also distancing us from the world and this is the understanding of nihilism ‘To Not Care’ for example when your phone turns off, you turn off as