Chapter

Kant, Nietzsche, and the Tragic Turn in Late Modern Philosophy<sup>1</sup>

Karl Ameriks

in Kant's Elliptical Path

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199693689
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745584 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199693689.003.0015
Kant, Nietzsche, and the Tragic Turn in Late Modern Philosophy1

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This chapter outlines a broader narrative of post-Kantian thought about purpose, nature, and history. It uses the idea of tragedy as a positive theme that connects the main figures Kant, Lessing, Schiller, Hegel, Schelling, the Romantics, and Nietzsche. Instead of thinking of tragedy in terms of common notions of unhappiness or conflicting duties, the chapter uses the broader late modern notion that a perspective on human existence can be called ‘tragic’ simply insofar as it upholds a positive attitude to existence even in the face of grave doubts about all traditional teleological accounts of humanity's path. Early works of Nietzsche are used to demonstrate that he was thinking explicitly of Kant's early cosmological speculations when he fashioned his own version of a non-teleological but yet distinctly aesthetic and meaningful conception of human existence.

Keywords: purpose; tragedy; cosmology; aesthetics; modernity; romanticism; Schiller; Lessing; Schelling; Nietzsche; Hegel

Chapter.  10349 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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