Friedrich Nietzsche on Human Nature: Between Philosophical Anthropology and Animal Studies

Vanessa Lemm

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


How can we think the de-humanized (entmenschte) human being when the human being is the de-animalized (entthierte) animal? – Friedrich Nietzsche 1

In aphorism 230 of Beyond Good and Evil (1886), Nietzsche coins the enigmatic term homo natura to capture his understanding of the human being as a creature of nature. In this aphorism, the question of human nature takes the form of a task, the “strange ( seltsame ) and insane ( tolle ) task” to “translate ( zurückübersetzen) the human being back into nature.” 2 Over the last two decades, the meaning of homo natura has taken center stage in discussion among Nietzsche scholars. Primarily the debates have revolved around the question of Nietzsche’s acclaimed naturalism and its relation to the life sciences in the nineteenth century. 3 In these debates, Nietzsche’s naturalism is associated with a neo-Kantian naturalist epistemology that provides an account of human nature modeled on the natural sciences.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnimals, Animality, and Literature
EditorsBruce Boehrer, Molly Hand, Brian Massumi
Place of PublicationCambridge, UK
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781108595278
ISBN (Print)9781108429825
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameCambridge critical concepts
PublisherCambridge University Press


  • Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Human Nature
  • Philosophical Anthropology
  • Animal Studies
  • English literature -- History and criticism
  • Animals in literature
  • Animals in motion pictures
  • Human-animal relationships in literature
  • Human-animal relationships in motion pictures
  • Animals (Philosophy)
  • Human-animal relationships -- Philosophy


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