Abstract

This article supports Lawrence Hatab's and Christa Davis Acampora's interpretation that the “sovereign individual” is not Nietzsche's positive ethical ideal. I draw on overlooked evidence from the Nachlass that bears on the notion of sovereignty, in conjunction with offering a close reading of the passages concerning this figure within the second and third essays of On the Genealogy of Morality. I argue that the second essay is not concerned with the fundamentals of agency; rather, it is focused on promising as a moral phenomenon. I demonstrate how the ambiguous traits attributed to the sovereign individual are deconstructed one after another, resulting in this figure appearing to be the culmination of the history of asceticism and moral responsibility. The sovereign individual is the modern individual who only stands apart from the herd insofar as the herd instinct has been perfectly internalized.

You do not currently have access to this content.