Abstract

By drawing upon contemporary debates in the theory of value, in this article I explore the evidence for taking Nietzsche to defend the view that rarity—at least under certain qualified conditions—matters for its own sake. I argue that this evidence is compelling, and that many intuitive objections to the view can be deflected by challenging the axiological assumptions that motivate them. The question concerning the value of rarity has significant evaluative implications concerning Nietzsche's famed critique of morality, and in particular the component of equality. While Nietzsche is traditionally interpreted as rejecting equality in virtue of its “leveling-down” effects upon certain perfectionist values, I claim that if rarity is itself valuable then we are left with a second critique of equality: that it undercuts the value of peculiarity. I explore the extent and significance of this objection in the final section of the article.

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