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Political ThinkersFrom Socrates to the Present

Political Thinkers: From Socrates to the Present (3rd edn)

David Boucher and Paul Kelly
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date: 28 January 2023

p. 52228. Nietzschelocked

p. 52228. Nietzschelocked

  • Nathan Widder


This chapter examines Friedrich Nietzsche's political philosophy, first by focusing on his claim that the ‘death of God’ inaugurates modern nihilism. It then explains Nietzsche's significance for political theory by situating him, on the one hand, against the Platonist and Christian traditions that dominate political philosophy and, on the other hand, with contemporary attempts to develop a new political theory of difference. The chapter also considers Nietzsche's genealogical method and proceeds by analysing the three essays of On the Genealogy of Morals, along with his views on good and bad, good and evil, slave morality, the ascetic ideal, and the nihilism of modern secularism. Finally, it reviews contemporary interpretations of Nietzsche's relation and relevance to political theory and how his philosophy has inspired a broader set of trends that has come to be known as ‘the ontological turn in political theory’.

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