Nietzsche's ethics of self-cultivation and eternity

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter examines Nietzsche’s suggestion that the thought of the eternal recurrence plays an important role in his ethics of self-cultivation. It argues that Nietzsche’s ethics values above all else the creation of the self as a unique, immortal artwork. He suggests that those who artistically fashion their own unique, unrepeatable life wish for its eternal repetition. The chapter then explains how the thought of eternal recurrence also cultivates the self as an artwork. It shows that Nietzsche conceives it as a ‘spiritual exercise’: a meditation on the idea of our recurrence that compels us to cultivate ourselves as singular works of art. Finally, the chapter examines the charge that Nietzsche ethics generates deeply troubling normative concerns. It argues that through his affective analysis of morality Nietzsche turns the tables on his critics. Nietzsche argues that Kantian and Schopenhauerian moralities diminish rather than cultivate others. By contrast, Nietzsche claims that his own ethics cultivates the virtue of friendship.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEthics and Self-Cultivation
Subtitle of host publicationHistorical and Contemporary Perspectives
EditorsMatthew Dennis, Sander Werkhoven
Place of PublicationAbingdon UK
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781315102269
ISBN (Print)9781138104372
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2018

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in Ethics and Moral Theory

Cite this