Abstract

In this article, I examine the linguistic features in Nietzsche's presentations that have led readers to assume that “the same” means numerical identity. I also evaluate the following argument about personal identity that has been used to support this assumption: if we are not numerically identical to our recurring counterparts, then we have no reason to be concerned about the prospect of reliving our lives and Nietzsche's theory cannot have any of the existential significance he ascribes to it. My conclusion is that Nietzsche actually has in mind a complete qualitative identity that includes all spatiotemporal properties. Thus, the supporting argument fails because the problem of persistence through change over time is not relevant to a theory in which persons are neither recurring at a later time nor undergoing any change when they recur.

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