Nietzsche Contra Darwin



Nietzsche attributes ‘will power’ to all living things, but this seems in sharp conflict with other positions important to him-and implausible besides. The doctrine smacks of both metaphysics and anthropomorphizing, which he elsewhere derides. Will to power seems to be an intentional end-directedness, involving cognitive or representational powers he is rightly loath to attribute to all organisms, and tends to downplay even in persons. This paper argues that we find a stronger reading of will to power-both more plausible and more consistent with Nietzsche's other views-by developing his affinities with Darwinism. By seeing will to power as an ‘internal revision’to Darwinism, opposing the latter's stress (as Nietzsche thinks) on ‘survival’, but assenting to its uses of natural selection, we can ground or naturalize that notion, congenially to Nietzsche and to us.