This wide-ranging and inspiring volume of essays explores Nietzsche's philosophy of the free spirit. Nietzsche begins to articulate his philosophy of the free spirit in 1878 and it results in his most congenial books, including Human, all too Human, Dawn (or Daybreak), and The Gay Science. It is one of the most neglected aspects of Nietzsche's corpus, yet crucially important to an understanding of his work.
Written by leading Nietzsche scholars from Europe and North America, the essays in this book explore topics such as: the kind of freedom practiced by the free spirit; the free spirit's relation to truth; the play between laughter and seriousness in the free spirit period texts; integrity and the free spirit; health and the free spirit; the free spirit and cosmopolitanism; and the figure of the free spirit in Nietzsche's later writings. This book fills a significant gap in the available literature and will set the agenda for future research in Nietzsche Studies.
Notes on Abbreviations / Acknowledgements / Introduction, Rebecca Bamford / Part I: Origins / 1. Skilled Marksman and Strict Self-Examination: Nietzsche on La Rochefoucauld, Ruth Abbey / 2. The Ethical Ideal of the Free Spirit in Human, All Too Human, Christine Daigle / 3. Beyond Selfishness: Epicurean Ethics in Nietzsche and Guyau, Keith Ansell-Pearson / 4. The Free Spirit and Aesthetic Self-Re-Education, Duncan Large / 5. Health and Self-Cultivation in Dawn, Rebecca Bamford / 6. Ridendo Dicere Severum: On Probity, Laughter and Self-Critique in Nietzsche’s Figure of the Free Spirit, Herman Siemens and Katia Hay / Part II: Developments, Applications, and Extensions / 7. The Experiment of Incorporating Unbounded Truth, Katrina Mitcheson / 8. Perspectives on a Philosophy of the Future in Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil, Marcus Andreas Born / 9. Nietzsche’s “Free Spirit”, Richard Schacht / 10. Being Unattached: Freedom and Nietzsche’s Free Spirits, Christa Davis Acampora / 11. Free the Spirit!: Kantian, Jungian, and Neoplatonic Resonances in Nietzsche, Paul Bishop / 12. Almost Everything is Permitted: Nietzsche’s Not-So-Free Spirits, Daniel Conway / 13. Is There a Free Spirit in Nietzsche’s Late Writings?, Andreas Urs Sommer / Notes on Contributors / Index
Rebecca Bamford is assistant professor of philosophy at Quinnipiac University. She was previously assistant editor of the Journal of Nietzsche Studies. Her monograph Nietzsche’s Method: Experimentalism in Science and Mind is forthcoming with De Gruyter. She currently serves as Secretary of the Friedrich Nietzsche Society.
Ruth Abbey, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Notre Dame, USA; Christa Davis Acampora, Professor of Philosophy, Hunter College CUNY, USA; Paul Bishop, William Jacks Chair in Modern Languages, University of Glasgow, UK; Marcus Born, Researcher in Modern German Literature, Heidelberg University, Germany; Daniel Conway, Professor of Philosophy, Texas A&M University, USA; Christine Daigle, Professor of Philosophy, Brock University, Canada; Katia Hay, Post-doctoral researcher in Philosophy, University of Lisbon, Portugal; Duncan Large, Professor of Languages, Translation and Communication, Swansea University, UK; Katrina Mitcheson, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, University of the West of England, UK; Martine Prange, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Leiden; the Netherlands; Herman Siemens, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Leiden, the Netherlands; Andreas Urs Sommer, Professor of Philosophy, University of Freiburg, Germany
This impressive volume gathers the work of many notable Nietzsche scholars on a figural notion that has not received sustained attention in the literature. The complex character of the free spirit is duly articulated in a multi-layered and comprehensive manner, with attention to both chronological and substantive questions in Nietzsche’s texts. Highly recommended.
The figure of the “free spirit” plays a central role in Nietzsche’s ‘middle period’ texts but its significance and relationship to the evolving arc of his philosophy has been largely neglected. This collection provides an important exploration of the origins, constructions and implications of the figure of the ‘free spirit’ in Nietzsche’s thought and in doing so sheds new light on the character and development of his philosophical project.