‘Some Have Suspected Me of Darwinism’

Louise Mabille


As much as Nietzsche engaged with Darwin, he was for him not much more than a footnote to Hegel. He is the biological symptom of an age sick with its own history. Indeed, he goes as far as to say that ‘without Hegel, there would have been no Darwin’ (GS 357). Of course, as one of the defining thinkers of the Victorian era, Darwin was important to Nietzsche , but it should not be forgotten how much they differed: Both Hegel and Darwin are ‘deifiers of success’ who see human history in terms of a single narrative, driven by a single mechanism, lending a stifling inevitability to it. Before anything else, Darwin added to the contemporary problem of seeing history as a process. One of the most dangerous responses to nihilism – which without a doubt exacerbated it – is the insistence upon rational explanations that master the vagaries…

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