Is Nietzsche a Naturalist? Or How to Become a Responsible Plant

Vanessa Lemm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


In his recent discuion of Nietzsche's naturalism, Brian Leiter invokes examples from the world of plants to demonstrate that human behavior and values are causally determined by "heritable psychological and physiological traits," or what he also refers to as "type-facts." The objective of this eay is to present a fuller picture of what Nietzsche actually has to say about plants by providing an overview of his textual references to the world of plants. Such an overview suggests that, in contrast to Leiter's naturalistic interpretation of Nietzsche, the examples of the life of plants found in Nietzsche's texts reveal the secret of human freedom and creativity. What we can learn from plants is not how and in what way we are determined by our cultural and biological inheritance and environment but, on the contrary, how and in what way we can be free and creative as plants and become the future value creators Nietzsche envisages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-80
Number of pages20
JournalThe Journal of Nietzsche Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • Naturalism
  • Nietzsche
  • Normativity
  • Plants
  • Value creation


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