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Generation(s) of Self: Understanding the Nietzschean Alternative to Self as Causal Substratum

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dc.contributor.advisor Miller, Jerry Floyd, Isabel 2020-08-07T17:30:21Z 2020-08-07T17:30:21Z 2020
dc.description.abstract Nietzsche writes "The doer is merely a fiction added to the deed—the deed is everything" (GM I:13). And yet, though Nietzsche's rejection of the theoretical import of ‘doers' in favor of an account of ‘deeds' is clearly a central part of his philosophical approach, it is a move that is not sufficiently understood in the secondary literature. Many Nietzsche theorists struggle to accept the radical character of this assertion and instead attempt to integrate it into an account of human agency in which being is still more theoretically fundamental than doing. In this thesis, I will examine existing interpretations and attempt to offer a reading of Nietzsche's views on the self that more fully captures the radical nature of his disavowal of doers. The Nietzschean self is active—it ​is​ deeds, it does not cause deeds, and such a self destabilizes the notion of causal responsibility that we typically use to understand the connection between subjects and deeds. I propose that the dissolution of causal responsibility makes way for an alternative picture of responsibility as radical, active self-claiming. The Nietzschean self that is claimed in this picture is not a ​substance ​but rather an ​inheritance of enacted relationships​ in which doing is theoretically central and explanatory of anything that we might call ‘being'. Nietzsche's account compels us to practice self-creation by embracing an understanding of the self as a transformative ​process of becoming ​in which change—rather than stability—is theoretically foundational.
dc.description.sponsorship Haverford College. Department of Philosophy
dc.language.iso eng
dc.subject.lcsh Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, 1844-1900 -- Criticism and interpretation
dc.subject.lcsh Self (Philosophy)
dc.title Generation(s) of Self: Understanding the Nietzschean Alternative to Self as Causal Substratum
dc.type Thesis
dc.rights.access Open Access

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