Chapter

The <i>Agōn</i>, Recognition, and the Question of Community

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199656059.003.0004
The Agōn, Recognition, and the Question of Community

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Chapter 3 explores Nietzsche’s concept of the contest. His early essay on Homer’s Contest shows that the contest is a social institution that restrains and limits violence, and thus is comparable to Hegel’s account of the struggle for recognition that culminates mastery and servitude. The contest is oriented towards competition, but not in order to produce a winner and a loser, or victor and vanquished. The guiding idea is that no one should be the best. The idea is that contestation itself is intrinsically worthwhile because it drives the competitors to greater levels of excellence. This assumes that the other has an affirmative rather than a merely negative significance. The contest is a social institution, grounded in an intersubjectively constituted common will, even though it is justified principally by instrumental considerations about producing greater individual excellence. The chapter examines Lawrence Hatab’s claim that inherent in the contest is an agonistic view of the will to power itself, and the germ of a theory of affirmative, noble community, one that has potential convergences with Hegel’s concepts of recognition and ethical life.

Keywords: Nietzsche; agōn; contest; contestation; Hatab; social ontology; will to power

Chapter.  13258 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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