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The Nietzschean SelfMoral Psychology, Agency, and the Unconscious$
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Paul Katsafanas

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198737100

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198737100.001.0001

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Self, Culture, and Society

Self, Culture, and Society

(p.197) 8 Self, Culture, and Society
The Nietzschean Self

Paul Katsafanas

Oxford University Press

Nietzsche treats selfhood as an aspirational term: we are not selves merely in virtue of being human. Rather, Nietzsche claims that selfhood is something that must be attained. So what, exactly, is involved in the transition from lacking to having a self? This chapter argues that Nietzsche treats genuine selfhood as attained when the person reassesses dominant values or embodies a new ideal. However, it is easy to confuse Nietzsche’s account with superficially similar, yet problematic, accounts. In particular, commentators have been tempted to interpret Nietzsche as endorsing the Romantic claim that the genuine self is the person who frees himself from the constraints of culture and returns to some essential, pre-social set of values or motivations. This chapter argues that Nietzsche dismisses both the idea of pre-social drives and the assumption that we can characterize what a person is without making reference to determinate aspects of her social setting.

Keywords:   Nietzsche, self, person, Romantic, drive, culture, value

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