Deconstructing the human: Ludwig Binswanger on Homo Natura in Nietzsche and Freud

Vanessa Lemm

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In aphorism 14 of The Antichrist, Nietzsche announces that he has "changed" (umgelernt) his way of thinking about human nature and that he has "placed the human being back among (zuruckgestellt) the animals" (A 14).1 In recent scholarship, Nietzsche's views on human nature in The Antichrist 14 have been read as evidence of his adherence to a naturalistic conception of human nature that is Darwinist and largely inspired by the life sciences of the nineteenth century.2 In this chapter, I draw on Ludwig Binswanger's consideration of human nature as homo natura in Nietzsche and Freud. I will offer a reading of The Antichrist 14 that shows why Nietzsche's (and also Freud's) project of the re-naturalization of the human being does not reflect a conception of human nature that begins and ends with the natural-scientific view of nature. My thesis is that Nietzsche and Freud employ natural science to deconstruct the civilizational ideal of humanity as superior to animals and plants. Both Nietzsche and Freud, however, set aside natural science when it comes to reconstructing human nature from its place among animals and plants because natural science is unable to account for human cultural productivity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNietzsche and The Antichrist
Subtitle of host publicationReligion, Politics, and Culture in Late Modernity
EditorsDaniel Conway
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781350016897, 9781350016903
ISBN (Print)9781350016880
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2019


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