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Nietzsches affirmative Genealogien

Matthieu Queloz


This paper argues that besides the critical and historically informed genealogies of his later work, Nietzsche also sketched out genealogies that are not historically situated and that display an under-appreciated affirmative aspect. The paper begins by looking at two early examples of such genealogies where datable historical origins are clearly not at issue, which raises the question of what kind of origins Nietzsche is seeking. It is argued that these genealogies inquire into practical origins – into the original point of certain conceptual practices given certain needs – and that this reflects Nietzsche’s instrumentalist approach to concepts. It is then argued that this focus lends the genealogies an affirmative dimension, because they present their object as naturalistically intelligible and practically indispensable. Finally, it is shown how the nature and limits of this affirmative dimension can be tentatively sharpened by connecting it to Nietzsche’s later notion of an economic justification of morality.


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Published Online: 2019-09-19
Published in Print: 2019-09-10

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