Aristotle V. Nietzsche on Habits.

Been working on individuality in Nietzsche. To this end, I’ve found contrasting Nietzsche to Aristotle helpful. These are the central claims I’m using as the basis for my contrast.

1. For Aristotle, perfection of a virtue occurs via habituation. This implies getting in the habit of “willing the mean between the extremes of excess and deficiency with respect to some action or emotion.” (Need reference for this last quote.)

2. For Nietzsche, “self-creation” or “becoming what one is” (individuality) occurs by willing the extreme.

“The spell that fights on our behalf, the eye of Venus that charms and blinds our opponents, is the magic of the extreme, the seduction that everything extreme exercises: we immoralists–we are the most extreme.” (WTP 749)

My tentative contention is that willing the extreme consists in living a life of “brief habits.” However, the set of brief habits willed by a body over the course of a life is a complicated idea. For one thing, the “extremes” willed over the course of are relative to the particular body who wills such extremes. This again should be contrasted with Aristotle’s idea that “virtue lies in a mean relative to us.”

3. Hence, Nietzsche’s own biographical experiences/actions aren’t to be construed as willing the extreme relative to your own body’s will to power.


About Dan Sorensen

In general, concerned with excellence. In particular: Opinions. Food. Artistic Process. Customer Service. Music. Media. Bullshit.
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