Brock University, Canadá
Doctoral studies at Universität Salzburg, Ph.D. Université de Montréal. She is the author of Le nihilisme est-il un humanisme? Étude sur Nietzsche et Sartre (PUL, 2005). She has edited Existentialist Thinkers and Ethics (MQUP, 2006) and co-edited Beauvoir and Sartre: The Riddle of Influence (IUP 2009) with Jacob Golomb. She is the author of articles on Nietzsche, Sartre and Beauvoir.
Nietzsche’s Notion of Embodied Self: Proto-Phenomenology at Work?
Nietzsche’s existential concern with the individual qua individual leads him to consider (1) how the human being experiences himself, (2) how he experiences the presence of others and (3) how he encounters the world, that is, how the world and the objects therein appear to him. These interconnected concerns focus on the human being as an embodied consciousness. Nietzsche’s concern with embodiment and his investigative methodology indicate that he ought to be considered as a phenomenologist avant la lettre, that is, as a philosopher whose inquiry anticipates traditional phenomenology.
I will present specific passages of Human, All Too Human and Daybreak as evidence of an early Nietzschean formulation of the concept of intentionality that lies at the heart of any phenomenological inquiry. Indeed, Nietzsche’s method in such works anticipates (for example) that of the late Husserl (minus the notion of pure consciousness, obviously). Nietzsche’s focus and emphasis on the phenomenal world leads him to explore the individual consciousness’ interaction with the world. Nietzsche’s views present us with a genuine phenomenological intentionality at work. Furthermore, I consider Nietzsche’s perspectivism to be an expression of his more fundamental view of intentionality which in turn rests upon a phenomenological understanding of embodiment. Nietzschean perspectivism, which is tied to his notion of the self as a «subjective multiplicity», understands our experience of the world in terms of a multifaceted embodied experience. I will argue that this «subjective multiplicity» is best understood in phenomenological terms. Indeed, Nietzsche’s views on the body and his dealings with the body are a paradigm case of phenomenology at work in his thought. My claim is that Nietzsche’s view of the body is phenomenological. Nietzsche understands the body as our grand reason, i.e. as our tool to have a world. This comes very close to Merleau-Ponty’s view of the body-subject as «our general medium for having a world» (Phenomenology of Perception, trans. Colin Smith, New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul
Ltd., 1962, p. 146). Drawing from the section «Of the Despisers of the Body» from Thus Spoke
Zarathustra, I will explain how the embodied intentional consciousness’ being-in-the-world constitutes itself in this große Vernunft. After which, I will show that a non-metaphysical mapping of the human being, such as that which we find in Nietzsche, unveils the individual as a body-subject that is a multi-faceted conscious being that has its foundation in a worldly situated embodied consciousness, a view that aligns Nietzsche with the existential-phenomenological tradition.