Show Less
Restricted access

Philosophy, Literature, and the Dissolution of the Subject

Nietzsche, Musil, Atay


Zeynep Talay

If philosophy has limits, what lies beyond them? One answer is literature. In this study, rather than seeing literature as a source of illustrations of philosophical themes, the author considers both philosophy and literature as sometimes competing but often complementary ways of making sense of and conveying the character of ethical experience. She does so through an analysis of ideas about language, experience and ethics in the philosophy of Nietzsche, and of the way in which these themes are worked out and elaborated in the writings of Robert Musil and the Turkish novelist Oğuz Atay.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Chapter III: Intermediate Reflections; Philosophy and Literature


We have suggested that there is a complicated relationship between the concepts of fate and free will, and that to set man and fate over against each other is to posit a false dichotomy, or one that closes off too many important questions.242 Such positing may be seen as the product of linguistic and semantic ‘fictions’. As early as 1862 in ‘Freedom of Will and Fate’243 Nietzsche writes:

We find that people believing in fate are distinguished by force and strength of will; whereas men and women who, according to an inverted comprehension of Christian tenets, let things happen (since ‘God will make everything turn out alright’) allow themselves, in a degrading manner, to be presided over by circumstances.244

For Nietzsche fate is nothing but a chain of events. Whenever we act we create our own events, in other words, we determine our own fate. And this is what amor fati is about.

In The Gay Science amor fati is the art of being a Yes-Sayer245 to life, to ourselves, in other words, it is the ability to ‘‘give style’ to one’s character’, to be poets of our lives246 which is a rare art. It cannot be realised by everyone simply because it requires an absolute honesty about oneself, an acceptance of the strengths and weaknesses of one’s own nature and the fitting of ‘them into an artistic plan until every one of them appears as art and reason and even the weaknesses delight...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.