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Nietzsche and the Ancient Skeptical Tradition$
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Jessica N. Berry

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195368420

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195368420.001.0001

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Skepticism and Health

Skepticism and Health

(p.133) Chapter 5 Skepticism and Health
Nietzsche and the Ancient Skeptical Tradition

Jessica N. Berry (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter takes up the question whether Nietzsche's philosophy ought to be characterized as “therapeutic,” as it so often has been, and investigates both his and the Greek skeptics' relationship with “health” as a goal of the philosophic enterprise. It might be objected that the Pyrrhonists' adoption of ataraxia (tranquility) as the ultimate aim of their practice, an aim which has often been linked with indifference, impassivity, and the avoidance of suffering, could not be consistent with any notion of health advanced by Nietzsche. Yet an exploration of the history and etymology of ataraxia—indeed, a genealogy of ataraxia—conducted in light of Nietzsche's longtime interest in the pre-Platonic philosopher Democritus of Abdera illuminates a model of psychological health and well-being that again brings him in line with the Skeptical tradition.

Keywords:   Nietzsche, skepticism, Democritus, health, sickness, eudaimonism, flourishing, suffering, ascetic ideal

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