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Heidegger on Nietzsche on Nihilism

Heidegger on Nietzsche on Nihilism

(p.179) 8 Heidegger on Nietzsche on Nihilism
Robert B. Pippin
University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses the interpretation of Nietzsche, especially Nietzsche’s views of the “nihilism crisis,” as these views were developed in Heidegger’s lecture courses on Nietzsche in the 1930’s and 1940’s. There are two main points. First, Heidegger is right, has something very useful to contribute, in trying to understand Nietzsche in terms of his own early existential phenomenological project in his 1927 work Being and Time. Especially important is Heidegger’s understanding of “meaning” (Sinn) and nihilism as a crisis of meaning. Second, Heidegger is interestingly wrong when, in the 1936 lectures and especially after the 1940 lectures, he turns against Nietzsche and his own early project, accusing Nietzsche and himself of still being part of the Western metaphysical project that terminates unavoidably in nihilism. I argue that this begs the question against Nietzsche, and misses the radically practical element of Nietzsche’s work.

Keywords:   meaning, meaningfulness, care, thrownness, metaphysics, death of God, will to power, Zarathustra, Dasein, being in the world

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