The Buddha as a ‘Profound Physiologist’

Robert G. Morrison

in Nietzsche and Buddhism

Published in print January 1999 | ISBN: 9780198238652
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679711 | DOI:
The Buddha as a ‘Profound Physiologist’

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For Nietzsche, to reduce human nature or, by implication, life, to a mere mechanism is merely symptomatic of a rather sickly and decadent form of life. One influential scientist who, for Nietzsche, symbolized this view and whose evolutionary theories he considered to be a danger to mankind's future was Charles Darwin. To counteract Darwin and what he symbolized Nietzsche had to find an antithesis to the mechanistic view of nature, which he found in the ideas of the 18th-century Jesuit scientist R. J. Boscovitch, whose view of nature was not mechanistic, but dynamic. In Boscovitch Nietzsche found his ‘servant’; in Boscovitch's dynamic theory of nature he uncovered his ‘foundation-stone’. This chapter examines Nietzsche's response to mechanistic materialism and his ‘cure’ for it — Boscovitch. It begins by looking into the primary analogate, ‘our world of desires and passions’, to see how Nietzsche's understanding of human nature as will to power was influenced by, and probably derived from, the ancient Greeks.

Keywords: Nietzsche; mechanistic view; nature; Darwin; R. J. Boscovitch

Chapter.  3111 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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