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Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 14, Issue 2, Spring 2010

Anthony K. Jensen
Pages 335-362

Nietzsche’s Interpretation of Heraclitus in Its Historical Context

This paper aims to reexamine Nietzsche’s early interpretation of Heraclitus in an attempt to resolve some longstanding scholarly misconceptions. Rather than articulate similarities or delineate the lines of influence, this study engages Nietzsche’s interpretation itself in its historical setting, for the first time acknowledging the contextual framework in which he was working. This framework necessarily combines Nietzsche’s reading in philology, post-Kantian scientific naturalism, and of the romantic worldviews of Schopenhauer and Wagner. What emerges is not the acceptance of the metaphysical-flux doctrine so much as a natal form of his physiognomic theory of perspectivism, a naturalistic and anti-teleological conception of flux, and a theory of justice as cosmodicy.

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