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Nietzsche and Amor Fati



Abstract: This paper identifies two central paradoxes threatening the notion of amor fati [love of fate]: it requires us to love a potentially repellent object (as fate entails significant negativity for us) and this, in the knowledge that our love will not modify our fate. Thus such love may seem impossible or pointless. I analyse the distinction between two different sorts of love (eros and agape) and the type of valuation they involve (in the first case, the object is loved because we value it; in the second, we value the object because we love it). I use this as a lens to interpret Nietzsche's cryptic pronouncements on amor fati and show that while an erotic reading is, up to a point, plausible, an agapic interpretation is preferable both for its own sake and because it allows for a resolution of the paradoxes initially identified. In doing so, I clarify the relation of amor fati to the eternal return on the one hand, and to Nietzsche's autobiographical remarks about suffering on the other. Finally, I examine a set of objections pertaining both to the sustainability and limits of amor fati, and to its status as an ideal.

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