Continental Philosophy


Lecture9: Nietzsche and Eternal Recurrence

Nietzsche’s theory of eternal recurrence is the most difficult, most obscure, and most fragmented of all of his philosophical proposals. It has been interpreted in a variety of ways by a variety of different philosophers and in the end, there is no real consensus on its value, interpretation or remit. Furthermore, the theory is unfinished and not fully worked out, and was likely to contribute to the non-book The Will to Power. What I am going to attempt here is a reconstruction. If eternal recurrence is to be presented as consistently as possible, I need to explain it cogently as I can, as well as tie it together to other core concepts of Nietzsche’s thought. But before that, we need to try and figure out exactly what Nietzsche means by eternal recurrence.

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