Nietzsche as Phenomenologist – Reevaluating Consciousness

When:24 Sep 2013, 1pm - 2:30pm
Venue:Morven Brown LG28
Who:Professor Christine Daigle, Brock University
Christine Daigle seminar

Philosophy Seminar

My paper will show that Nietzsche was a phenomenologist avant la lettre. In his middle period works, Nietzsche explicitly embraces the Enlightenment spirit and aims to shed a critical eye on received metaphysical, moral and religious notions among which that of consciousness. In reaction to the traditional view of consciousness as transparent, rational and disembodied, Nietzsche proposes a reevaluation of the concept of consciousness. I will first analyse a selection of aphorisms from the first chapter of Human, All Too Human. Doing so, I will demonstrate that Nietzsche offers what amounts to a view of consciousness as intentional, one that is close to Husserl’s. Examining passages from Dawn, The Gay Science, and Thus Spoke Zarathustra, I will flesh out this reevaluated concept of consciousness and explore how Nietzsche conceives of it as multiple and inseparable from the body, that is, as a ‘subjective multiplicity.’ I will also analyse closely aphorism 354 of The Gay Science in order to show that it supports a phenomenological view of consciousness as multi-layered. This allows him to claim that “the way is open for new versions and refinements of the soul-hypothesis and such conceptions as ‘mortal soul,’ and ‘soul as subjective multiplicity,’ and ‘soul as social structure of the drives and affects,’ want henceforth to have citizens’ rights in science.” (BGE §12)

Christine Daigle is Professor of Philosophy and Chancellor’s Chair for Research Excellence at Brock University (Ontario, Canada). She is the author of Jean-Paul Sartre (Routledge, Critical Thinkers Series, 2009) and Le Nihilisme est-il un humanisme? Étude sur Nietzsche et Sartre (PUL, 2005). She has co-edited with Élodie Boublil Nietzsche and Phenomenology: Power, Life, Subjectivity (Indiana University Press, 2013) and co-edited with Jacob Golomb Beauvoir and Sartre: The Riddle of Influence (Indiana University Press, 2009). She has also edited the volume Existentialist Thinkers and Ethics (McGill/Queen’s University Press, 2006. She has published articles on the philosophies of Nietzsche, Beauvoir and Sartre and is currently working on a monograph titled Nietzsche as Phenomenologist.

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