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Episteme

Abstract

Does Nietzsche believe that asceticism is necessarily and essentially decadent, anti-body, and life-negating? The polemical style of Nietzsche’s critique forces the interpreter to determine if Nietzsche would support a new kind of asceticism or no asceticism at all. This author argues for the former. The paper begins with an overview of the general argument in the Genealogy. The author highlights how the will to power and will to truth get expressed through the ascetic ideal; the relationship between intellectual asceticism and priestly asceticism; and Nietzsche’s ultimate conclusion about the ascetic will to power: it desires an impossible, in-itself reality that winds up rejecting becoming—the ascetic will to power winds up in death. Yet, Nietzsche cannot be suggesting that we give up all the elements of this destructive behavior. Philosophy and art are relatively admired by Nietzsche. Further, the author describes how Nietzsche’s project really just alters the ascetic ideal—the truth project now admits of reflexivity and instability.

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