Abstract

In this article, I examine how competitive impulses can be regulated according to Nietzsche's writings on the agon in the 1870s. There are currently two conflicting accounts of how Nietzsche conceives of agonal measure. One group of commentators proposes that such regulation arises by self-restraint, where adversaries respectfully treat one another with moderation (what I call the respect model). Others have objected that Nietzsche's agonal contestants do not restrain themselves, and that measure rather depends on constructing the contest in such a way that adversaries reciprocally limit one another (what I call the counterbalancing model). After reconstructing these positions in Section 1 of the article, I argue (in Section 2) that the counterbalancing model misinterprets Nietzsche's views on equality. Then, against the respect model, I demonstrate in Section 3 that the form of respect operative in Nietzsche's agonism is respect for the commonweal and mythic law as opposed to respect for one's adversaries.

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