Nietzsche on Moods, Passions, and Styles: Greek Inspirations


  • Martha Kendal Woodruf Transnational Press London



Nietzsche, Passions, Greek Inspirations


Throughout his works, despite all changes, Nietzsche remains dedicated to the belief that the affective realm—the entire sphere of moods, passions,
emotions, feelings—lies far deeper than reason and provides the real motivation for our pursuit of knowledge, ethics, and art. But Nietzsche avoids a simple binary opposition of “emotion versus reason” and instead suggests that our drive for knowledge itself has an affective origin in our psychology. The early Nietzsche frequently uses the term “the pathos of truth [Pathos der Wahrheit]” to suggest that even our striving for truth arises from an affective need. This position has ancient origins: the Greek meaning of philo-sophia as love for wisdom suggests an affective heart, a particular kind of love, as the root meaning of philosophy. One reason for Nietzsche’s love of the Greeks lies in this ancient sense of philosophy as a kind of love and as a way of life. Indeed, Nietzsche’s revaluations of moods and passions arise from his readings of the Greeks. Only through his revivals of the Greeks, I argue, does Nietzsche find the resources he needs to develop an alternative understanding of affects that differs from both Christianity and modern pessimism.


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How to Cite

Woodruf, M. K. . (2020). Nietzsche on Moods, Passions, and Styles: Greek Inspirations. The Agonist, 13(1-2), 114–130.