Nietzschean affirmation

Nietzschean affirmation is a concept in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. It is, in one sense, an alternative model to ressentiment concerning the rejection of Modernism's overarching project, a model that first occurred in the work of Friedrich Nietzsche who declares,

Nietzsche's perspective stands in stark contrast to the epistemology of Modernism; his contribution then evolves within the deconstructionist philosophy of Jacques Derrida, most notably in his theory of Différance, as a response to the apparent optimism of Friedrich Nietzsche's work, which denigrates the metanarrative and the quest for objective truth. In numerous treatises, Nietzsche renders the project underlying Modernism impossible and unattainable:


Jacques Derrida allocates this concept and applies it specifically to language, its structure and play. This application acknowledges that there is, in fact, no center or origin within language and its many parts, no firm ground from which to base any Truth or truths. This shock allows for two reactions in Derrida’s philosophy: the more negative, melancholic response, which he designates as Rousseauistic, or the more positive Nietzschean affirmation. Rousseau's perspective focuses on deciphering the truth and origin of language and its many signs, an often exhaustive occupation. Derrida's response to Nietzsche, however, offers an active participation with these signs and arrives at, in Derridean philosophy, a more resolute response to language.

In “Structure, Sign, and Play,” Derrida articulates Nietzsche’s perspective as

…the joyous affirmation of the play of the world and of the innocence of becoming, the affirmation of a world of signs without fault, without truth, and without origin which is offered to an active interpretation.

Essentially, Derrida not only fosters Nietzsche’s work but evolves it within the sphere of language; in doing so, Derrida acquires and employs Nietzsche’s optimism in his concept of play: "the substitution of given and existing, present, pieces" (292). Much of this spirit resides in the abandonment of any sort of new humanism. This acceptance of the inevitable allows for considerable relief — evident in the designation of the loss of center as a noncenter — as well as the opportunity to affirm and cultivate play, which enables humanity and the humanities “to pass beyond man and humanism” (292).


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