Abstract

Bernard Reginster has argued that Nietzschean nihilism is best characterized as a “philosophical claim.” This account has inspired a number of critical responses. While Reginster's characterization presents nihilism as a purely cognitive phenomenon, involving particular beliefs about meaning and value, it is just as frequently presented by Nietzsche as a feeling-based phenomenon, a weariness with one's world that comports one negatively toward the world. How, then, should Nietzsche's reader understand the problem of nihilism in his thought? In this article, I examine Nietzsche's account of drives, affects, and the relations he establishes between them to show that nihilism must be understood not only as involving particular beliefs, but as a psychophysiological condition, which I call, following Ken Gemes and John Richardson, affective nihilism.

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