Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Nietzsche's Naturalism
Philosophy and the Life Sciences in the Nineteenth Century

$29.99 (C)

  • Date Published: May 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107685086

$ 29.99 (C)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

This title is not currently available for examination. However, if you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • This book explores Nietzsche's philosophical naturalism in its historical context, showing that his position is best understood against the background of encounters between neo-Kantianism and the life sciences in the nineteenth century. Analyzing most of Nietzsche's writings from the late 1860s onwards, Christian J. Emden reconstructs Nietzsche's naturalism and argues for a new understanding of his account of nature and normativity. Emden proposes historical reasons why Nietzsche came to adopt the position he did; his genealogy of values and his account of a will to power are as much influenced by Kantian thought as they are by nineteenth-century debates on teleology, biological functions, and theories of evolution. This rich and wide-ranging study will be of interest to scholars and students of Nietzsche, the history of modern philosophy, intellectual history, and history of science.

    • Fills a gap in current discussions by examining Nietzsche's philosophical naturalism both historically and philosophically, highlighting the relevance of Nietzsche's philosophy to current debates in normativity
    • Appeals to readers in a wide range of philosophical disciplines: analytic philosophy, continental philosophy, history of philosophy, and history of science
    • Assesses the relationship between Nietzsche's ideas and theories of evolution in accessible terms, making the book appealing to non-specialists and undergraduate students
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    ‘Emden manages to convey the broader historical and scientific backdrop against which Nietzsche was operating, and he offers the reader new material with which to assess Nietzsche's thought. His work - well-written, accessible and meticulously researched - has an impressive command of the secondary research, and it will be considered a welcome addition to the recent arsenal of naturalist perspectives on Nietzsche.' Dirk R. Johnson, Hampden-Sydney College

    ‘This is an important, timely study that throws fresh light on the formation and development of Nietzsche's thought by examining it in the context of contemporary German debates about the ‘philosophy of nature' (Naturphilosophie) and Darwinism. Emden intelligently combines close readings of individual works with more general discussions of the changes in philosophy and science that took place in the second half of the nineteenth century to arrive at a new interpretation of Nietzsche's unique brand of naturalism.' Martin A. Ruehl, University of Cambridge

    ‘Although recent years have witnessed a renaissance of interest in Nietzsche's naturalism, we lack in English-speaking commentary an adequate appreciation of his relation to the life sciences of his time. Christian J. Emden's study corrects this situation and provides a concerted reconstruction of Nietzsche's philosophical naturalism. His insights into Nietzsche's relation to Darwinism and into what it means to naturalize Kant are amongst the most subtle and incisive I have encountered. This is a fine and important study and will appeal to readers across the disciplines, including intellectual history, philosophy, cultural studies, and German studies.' Keith Ansell-Pearson, University of Warwick

    ‘Christian J. Emden has written the book on Nietzsche's biological naturalism which many of us have been waiting for. Situating Nietzsche's later work amidst the shifting currents of nineteenth-century cell theory, embryology, neo-Kantianism, and evolutionary thought brings out new philosophical complexity and depth in his genealogical project, and reinforces Nietzsche's relevance to philosophy today.' Joseph Rouse, Wesleyan University, Connecticut

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107685086
    • dimensions: 230 x 152 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Varieties of Philosophical Naturalism:
    1. Introduction
    2. The neo-Kantian stance
    3. Nietzsche's 'anti-Darwinism'?
    4. Psychology, experiment, and scientific practice
    5. Three kinds of naturalism
    Part II. Evolution and the Limits of Teleology:
    6. Introduction
    7. Problems with purpose
    8. The politics of progress
    9. Naturalizing Kant
    10. Genealogy and path dependence
    Part III. Genealogy, Nature, and Normativity:
    11. Introduction
    12. 'Darwinism's' metaphysical mistake
    13. Living things and the will to power
    14. Toward a natural history of normativity
    15. 'Naturalism in morality'

  • Author

    Christian J. Emden, Rice University, Houston
    Christian J. Emden is Professor of German Intellectual History and Political Thought at Rice University, Houston. He is the author of Friedrich Nietzsche and the Politics of History (2008), and Nietzsche on Language, Consciousness, and the Body (2005), and recently co-edited Beyond Habermas: Democracy, Knowledge, and the Public Sphere (2012), and Changing Perceptions of the Public Sphere (2012).

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.