Epiphany and/or Politics? Nietzsche

  • Susan McManus
Part of the Studies in European Culture and History book series (SECH)


The figure of Nietzsche stands at the center of this book, interrogating what has gone before, anticipating other and different ways of thinking and being and becoming to come. I have so far explored the ways in which political theory that seeks to ground its legislative impulse in epistemologically privileged ways, in knowledge of nature or of the real, is always-already fictive thought. It is, however, fictive thought that must (and can only attempt to) efface, negate, and forget its contingency and its creative power in favor of its need for truth and universality, and thus its juridical, legislative, and authoritative power. Eliciting the traces of this necessarily incomplete effacement and negation was the subject of exploration of part I of this book. There, I explored the foundational paradox of the substitution of the (actually) imaginary for the (illusory) real in the state of nature narratives of Hobbes and Rousseau. In Hobbes, the programmatic Leviathan was disrupted; but more positively in Rousseau, I suggested that the contours of a different modality of theorizing could be discerned. In the excursus on Kant, I explored his “brilliant satire” on state of nature narratives; and suggested that the explicitly fictional logics of Kant’s “Conjectures …” creates an estranged perspective by which his Groundwork to the Metaphysics of Morals can be read. Just as the chronology of nature was inhabited by a narrative imaginary that provided the conditions of intelligibility, so to, in the deduction of the Categorical Imperative, a narrative and fictive moment is indeed necessary. Two important metaphysical distinctions, between nature and narrative, and between philosophy and fiction, were shown to be resistant to such separation.


Political Theory Eternal Return Free Spirit False Judgment True World 
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© Susan McManus 2005

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  • Susan McManus

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