Nietzsche and Anaximander: The Innocence of Becoming, or Life Without a Mortgage
Nietzsche's vision of what philosophy is, has been, and might become is indebted to the figure of Anaximander, the first Greek philosopher said to have put his thoughts into writing. This essay shows such talk of indebtedness is highly problematic, an insight that Nietzsche achieved in part by meditating on this enigmatic figure "at the boundary stone of Greek philosophy." While beginning with a deep fascination, he eventually makes it his task to overcome both the metaphysical and moral philosophy (to employ much later terms) that Anaximander inscribed in the Western tradition. Beginning with his lectures on the pre-Platonic philosophers, reaching a point of intensity in Zarathustra's account of philosophy as a form of madness, and presupposed in the Genealogy's argument that thinking in terms of credit and debt is the oldest stratum of human thought, the Milesian philosopher haunts Nietzsche's writing and thinking. This essay explores these three crucial moments of his engagement with an emblematic thinker of Greece's tragic age.
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Gary Shapiro, "Nietzsche and Anaximander: The Innocence of Becoming, or Life Without a Mortgage," in Nietzsche and the Philosophers, ed. Mark T. Conard (New York: Routledge, 2017), 86-103.