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Nietzsche's EarthGreat Events, Great Politics$
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Gary Shapiro

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226394459

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226394596.001.0001

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Introduction: Toward Earth’s “Great Politics”

Introduction: Toward Earth’s “Great Politics”

(p.1) Chapter 1 Introduction: Toward Earth’s “Great Politics”
Nietzsche's Earth

Gary Shapiro

University of Chicago Press

This introductory chapter raises questions concerning the context, meaning, and significance of three interrelated concepts in Nietzsche’s work: the earth, great events, and great politics. It argues that these are indeed closely related ideas and that much previous writing and thinking about these Nietzschean concepts has been unduly limited in not recognizing this. Earth is not only a phenomenological concept but a political one, opposed to the Hegelian notion of world-history, in which the state is God’s march through history. As the immanent site of mobile human habitation, the earth – Nietzsche sometimes speaks of the “human-earth” -- is distinct from a world of nation-states which Hegel and the Hegelians of Nietzsche’s day saw as the telos of history. These questions are introduced and tentatively explored: What then did Nietzsche mean when he said that he was initiating a “great politics” on or of the earth? What are the “great events” that he speaks of if they are events of the earth rather than the world?

Keywords:   Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, earth, great politics, great events

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