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Nietzsche’s Europe: an experimental anticipation of the future

Glendinning, Simon (2016) Nietzsche’s Europe: an experimental anticipation of the future. Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 47 (3). pp. 276-291. ISSN 0007-1773

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Identification Number: 10.1080/00071773.2016.1180850


Like Kant a little over a hundred years earlier, Nietzsche saw the history of Europe as moving towards the formation of an integrated political union. Unlike Kant, however, Nietzsche does not see this development as an unambiguous good. Kant had supposed that European integration would belong to a history of constitutional improvements that would make war between what we would now call “democratic” states in Europe increasingly less likely. Nietzsche also sees it as part of a process of democratization, but he understands that as a movement of “levelling and mediocritizing” of the European peoples, making Europeans into serviceable herd animals, “weak willed highly employable workers”. The general trend of European democratization is simply a movement towards the production of a type that is “prepared for slavery in the subtlest sense”. Nietzsche does not think this is a wholly unhappy development, however, because he thinks the same conditions will also bring about something that he welcomes: “the breeding of tyrants”. It is hardly an attractive picture, and this paper tries to come to terms with Nietzsche’s strange hopes for a Europe to come, and to locate it in the context of a distinctively German tradition of thinking about European unity.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 The British Society for Phenomenology
Divisions: European Institute
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2016 12:32
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:25

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