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Nietzsche and the Becoming of Life$
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Vanessa Lemm

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823262861

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823262861.001.0001

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Nietzsche’s Synaesthetic Epistemology and the Restitution of the Holistic Human

Nietzsche’s Synaesthetic Epistemology and the Restitution of the Holistic Human

(p.177) 10 Nietzsche’s Synaesthetic Epistemology and the Restitution of the Holistic Human
Nietzsche and the Becoming of Life

Rainer J. Hanshe

Fordham University Press

In Nietzsche’s epistemic order, every sense is not only positively valued but also often “crossed” with other senses. While the few scholars who actually address Nietzsche’s conception of synaesthesia assert that his depiction and use of it is strictly metaphoric, actually, his texts reveal precisely the opposite—the phenomenon is conveyed as a distinct reality. As recent neuroscience research has proven, such perceptions are not metaphoric but actual. Although the term synaesthesia was not coined until the 1890s, subsequent to Nietzsche’s published works, Francis Galton outlines the first systematic account of it in his Inquiries Into Human Faculty. Nietzsche read the book when it was first published in 1883 and continued to read and refer to it in his notes and published works up until his collapse in 1889. While not all of Nietzsche’s references to Galton’s book concern synaesthesia, he was knowledgeable of the phenomenon through other sources, if not personal experience, and a persistent engagement with it can be traced throughout his corpus.

Keywords:   Nietzsche, Synaesthetics, epistemology, holism, humanism

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