Chapter

Self, Culture, and Society

Paul Katsafanas

in The Nietzschean Self

Published in print February 2016 | ISBN: 9780198737100
Published online March 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780191800641 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198737100.003.0008
Self, Culture, and Society

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Nietzsche treats selfhood as an aspirational term: we are not selves merely in virtue of being human. Rather, Nietzsche claims that selfhood is something that must be attained. So what, exactly, is involved in the transition from lacking to having a self? This chapter argues that Nietzsche treats genuine selfhood as attained when the person reassesses dominant values or embodies a new ideal. However, it is easy to confuse Nietzsche’s account with superficially similar, yet problematic, accounts. In particular, commentators have been tempted to interpret Nietzsche as endorsing the Romantic claim that the genuine self is the person who frees himself from the constraints of culture and returns to some essential, pre-social set of values or motivations. This chapter argues that Nietzsche dismisses both the idea of pre-social drives and the assumption that we can characterize what a person is without making reference to determinate aspects of her social setting.

Keywords: Nietzsche; self; person; Romantic; drive; culture; value

Chapter.  12299 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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