Nietzsche and Philosophy

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Nietzsche and Philosophy
Nietzsche and Philosophy, first edition.jpg
Cover of the first edition
Author Gilles Deleuze
Original title Nietzsche et la philosophie
Translator Hugh Tomlinson
Country France
Language French
Subject Friedrich Nietzsche
  • 1962 (Presses Universitaires de France, in French)
  • 1983 (Columbia University Press, in English)
Media type Print (Hardcover and Paperback)
Pages 221 (Columbia University Press edition)
ISBN 0-231-05669-9 (English edition)

Nietzsche and Philosophy (French: Nietzsche et la philosophie) is a 1962 book about Friedrich Nietzsche by philosopher Gilles Deleuze, in which Deleuze treats Nietzsche as a systematically coherent philosopher, discussing concepts such as the will to power and the eternal return. Nietzsche and Philosophy is a celebrated and influential work. Its publication has been seen as a significant turning-point in French philosophy, which had previously given little consideration to Nietzsche as a serious philosopher.


Deleuze writes that the reception of Nietzsche's thought has involved two key issues, those of whether it helped to prepare the way for fascism, and whether it deserves to be considered philosophy. Deleuze, who compares Nietzsche to Baruch Spinoza, considers Nietzsche as one of the greatest philosophers of the 19th century, crediting him with altering "both the theory and the practice of philosophy." Deleuze argues that Nietzsche's concepts, such as the will to power and the eternal return, have been generally misunderstood, the former as primarily concerning "wanting or seeking power", and the latter as "the return of a particular arrangement of things after all other arrangements have been realised...the return of the identical or the same". Deleuze notes that in Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883), Nietzsche twice denies that "the eternal return is a circle which makes the same return."[1]


Nietzsche and Philosophy became a celebrated work.[2] According to Ronald Bogue, its publication marked a significant turning-point in French philosophy, which had previously given little consideration to Nietzsche as a serious or coherent philosopher. Bogue writes that that Deleuze was one of the first commentators to discuss the concepts of the will to power and the eternal return carefully, and that Nietzsche and Philosphy raised questions that became central to Nietzsche studies and to French post-structuralism. He adds that many of the central themes of Deleuze's later work were first stated in the work.[3] Michael Tanner finds Nietzsche and Philosophy "quite wild about Nietzsche, but interesting about Deleuze."[2] Philosophers Bernd Magnus and Kathleen Higgins write that Deleuze, like Jacques Derrida, Alexander Nehamas, and Richard Rorty, depicts Nietzsche as "attempting to liberate us from the felt need to provide theories of knowledge, or moral theories, or ontologies."[4] Daniel W. Smith identifies Nietzsche and Philosophy as "one of the most important and influential, as well as idiosyncratic, readings of Nietzsche to have appeared in Europe."[5]

Academic Hans Sluga identifies Nietzsche and Philosophy as a possible influence on philosopher Michel Foucault: he suggests that the work helped Foucault to discover Nietzsche as a "genealogical thinker, the philosopher of the will to power."[6]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Deleuze 1983. pp. ix-xii.
  2. ^ a b Tanner 1994. p. 83.
  3. ^ Bogue 1989. pp. 15-6.
  4. ^ Magnus 1996. p. 3.
  5. ^ Smith 1997. p. vii.
  6. ^ Sluga 2003. p. 224.


  • Bogue, Ronald (1989). Deleuze and Guattari. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-02443-9. 
  • Deleuze, Gilles (1983). Nietzsche and Philosophy. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-05669-9. 
  • Magnus, Bernd; Higgins, Kathleen M. (1996). Magnus, Bernd; Higgins, Kathleen M., eds. The Cambridge Companion to Nietzsche. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-36767-0. 
  • Sluga, Hans (2003). Gutting, Gary, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Foucault, Second Edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-60053-8. 
  • Smith, Daniel W.; Klossowski, Pierre (1997). Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-44387-6. 
  • Tanner, Michael (1994). Nietzsche. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-287680-5.