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Scott D. Jenkins
University of Kansas, Lawrence (Lawrence, KS 66045-7505)
Friedrich Nietzsche and the Problem of Pessimism

This project examines Friedrich Nietzsche's connection to the tradition of philosophical pessimism that stretches from Greek tragedy to modern figures such as Giacomo Leopardi and Arthur Schopenhauer, and on to the present day. Philosophical pessimism is the view that our lives are of much less value to us than we commonly assume. This study will argue that the account of pessimism and tragedy in ancient Athens that Nietzsche provides in his first book, "The Birth of Tragedy," is merely the first step in a lifelong engagement with pessimism. The book resulting from this study will explain how Nietzsche's doctrines of will to power and eternal recurrence reconfigure the problem of pessimism and examine the solutions Nietzsche provides to this problem. The result will be a radically new account of Nietzsche as a philosopher whose intellectual life was guided by the single problem of the value of life.

Project fields:
Philosophy, General

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2013 – 7/31/2014