Rousseau, Nietzsche, and the Question of the Heart


  • Voranc Kumar Podiplomski študent filozofije, Ljubljana



autobiography, memory, affirmation, natural state, coincidence


Rousseau and Nietzsche are philosophers between whom it is difficult to establish a dialogue that arises directly from their works, and yet there are connections between their philosophies, or in Nietzsche’s terms, perspectives, which open up a common issue: the question of evaluation. But to what does evaluation refer, to what value, or to the value of what does it refer? We want to show that it is an evaluation of the present in which thought takes place, which returns as memory of both the continuity of the trace and its interruptions. Memory, however, returns either as ressentiment and a will to revenge, that is, memory’s own negation of itself, because it is never adequate, or as an affirmation of what is remembered and what returns in memory, including discontinuities. In response to this problem, Rousseau invents his proto-concept of the heart, which appears in more or less conceptual form in both his autobiographical and political-theoretical works, without Rousseau ever granting it a place in his philosophy. We argue that the heart acquires its conceptuality only when we recognise it as a central and plastic principle of his thought, corresponding structurally to Nietzsche’s will to power. Deleuze describes the latter as a plastic principle of Nietzsche’s philosophy, the principle of evaluating and re-evaluating values, and the principle of evaluating what can and must recur in thought.


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2021-12-31 — Updated on 2022-04-06


How to Cite

Kumar, V. (2022). Rousseau, Nietzsche, and the Question of the Heart. Filozofski Vestnik, 42(3). (Original work published December 31, 2021)