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Architecture and Eternity: Physis in Nietzsche and Empedocles

Chapter
Part of the Contributions To Phenomenology book series (CTPH, volume 92)

Abstract

“Architecture and Eternity: Physis in Nietzsche and Empedocles” argues that Empedocles’ vision of nature stands at the juncture between the archaic conception of nature as sublime force, and the classical Greek notion of self-replicating substance. The essay first traces the Homeric notions of phyein (“to bring forth or produce”) and physis (“the entirety of a thing, all of its capacities and hidden parts”). It proceeds to argue that Empedocles attributes ontological primacy exclusively to the four roots and the forces of love and strife, whose constant mixture and separation produces all things. When compared to the classical Aristotelian notion of nature, Empedocles allows for internal force and creativity, but rejects an Aristotelian telos. He instead prioritizes physis in terms of persistent principles that cause continuous coming to be and passing away through mixture, without divine purpose beyond their own motions. For Empedocles, the cosmos dances from limit to opposed limit, while leaving a wondrous trail of temporary beings in its wake. Finally, the essay relates Empedocles’ view of nature to Nietzsche’s, arguing that Nietzsche’s philosophy echoes Empedocles’ rejection of functionalism and teleology, embracing his emphasis on existence as lived. Since for Empedocles nature and culture are at one with the roots, a Nietzschean philosophy of the city that embraces existence and the union of self, others, rocks, and plants becomes possible.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Utah Valley UniversityOremUSA

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