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Misunderstanding Epicurus? A Nietzschean Identification

Wilson H. Shearin
Journal of Nietzsche Studies
Vol. 45, No. 1 (Spring 2014), pp. 68-83
DOI: 10.5325/jnietstud.45.1.0068
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5325/jnietstud.45.1.0068
Page Count: 16
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Misunderstanding Epicurus? A Nietzschean Identification
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Abstract

This article considers aspects of Nietzsche's identification with the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, focusing in particular upon how Epicurus's antiteleology (his denial of an ultimate metaphysical principle) was significant for Nietzsche's views on religion and knowledge. I make a case for the claim that Nietzsche's practice of philosophy, specifically his perspectivism, was influenced by Epicurus's practice of multiple explanations, a form of scientific explanation rooted in ethics and antiteleology. In conclusion, I examine the ways in which Nietzsche's manner of reading Epicurus may cause us to revise our interpretations of not only the Greek thinker but also elements of Nietzsche's own identification with that thinker.

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