Hegel and Nietzsche: Recognition and Master/Slave

Robert R Williams

in Tragedy, Recognition, and the Death of God

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199656059
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744846 | DOI:
Hegel and Nietzsche: Recognition and Master/Slave

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This chapter compares Hegel and Nietzsche on the topic of master and slave. For Hegel master/slave results from the struggle for recognition; for Nietzsche it is a typology of morality: the life-affirming or the decadent. The chapter examines Gilles Deleuze’s claim that Hegel and Nietzsche are opposites and that Hegel’s recognition is inherently servile in Nietzsche’s sense. However, when Deleuze gives his account of affirmation in Nietzsche, it becomes clear that affirmation is double: The primary, Dionysian affirmation is actual only as the object of a second affirmation. Such double affirmation is indistinguishable from Hegel’s analysis of mutual recognition, an irony that undermines Deleuze’s central claim that Hegel and Nietzsche are opposites. Nietzsche’s thought concerning community remains ambiguous. When Nietzsche criticizes sympathy, he claims that all community makes humans common and impure; this implies that community is essentially herd community and essentially negative and homogenizing, lacking in solidarity. Yet Nietzsche also maintains that there is such a thing as a noble community that is both affirmative and dependent on preservation of strong differences. This apparent contradiction requires further investigation.

Keywords: recognition; master/slave; noble/decadent; Deleuze; affirmation; community

Chapter.  10939 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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