Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Justifying the world as an aesthetic phenomenon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article scrutinises one of the most challenging and provocative theses of Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy, that only as an aesthetic phenomenon can existence and the world be (or appear to be) ‘justified’. The thesis, which appears in two subtly different versions (together with several related formulations) and was highlighted in the ‘Attempt at Self-Criticism’ prefaced to the new edition of 1886, is enmeshed in the intricate web of ideas by which Nietzsche constructs both a general aesthetics and a specific theory of tragedy. Through a close examination of various strands of the work, the article analyses Nietzsche’s frequently masked revaluation of a series of Greek sources of thinking, not least his ‘inversion’ of both the metaphysics and the aesthetics of Plato’s Republic. Above all, the thesis of aesthetic ‘justification’ is shown to be caught up in a tension between Apolline and Dionysian interpretations, the first entailing a quasi-Homeric sense that the Olympians justify human existence by living a transfigured form of it themselves, the second involving a tragic yet exhilarating insight into reality, even in its darkest features, as itself the creative work of a ‘world-artist’, the latter allusively associated by Nietzsche with the philosophy of Heraclitus.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-112
JournalCambridge Classical Journal
Volume64
Early online date24 Jul 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Longinus and Quintilian: Greco-Roman Perspectives on the Nature of Criticism

    Halliwell, F. S., 2020, (In preparation) Greek Literary Critics and Latin Texts. de Jonge, C. (ed.). Leiden: Brill

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

  2. '”Inside and Outside the Mind”: the Greek Poetics of Inspiration’

    Halliwell, F. S., 2020, (In preparation) Poetics Before Modernity: Literary Theory in the West from Antiquity to 1700. Brljak, V. & Lazarus, M. (eds.). Oxford University Press

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

  3. Review of A. Zanker, Greek and Latin Expressions of Meaning: the Classical Origins of a Modern Metaphor

    Halliwell, F. S., Jan 2019, In : CJ-Online. 2019.01.01

    Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

  4. 'Aristotle', 'Collaboration', and 'Plagiarism' [3 entries]

    Halliwell, F. S., 2019, Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Greek Comedy. Sommerstein, A. (ed.).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary

  5. 'We were there too': philosophers in the theatre

    Halliwell, F. S., Dec 2018, Synagonizesthai. Essays in Honour of Guido Avezzù. Bigliazzi, S., Lupi, F. & Ugolini, G. (eds.). Skenè, p. 15-39 (Skenè: Texts and Studies).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Related by journal

  1. Cambridge Classical Journal (Journal)

    Jon Hesk (Reviewer)
    1 Jan 201231 Dec 2013

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

Related by journal

  1. Florus and Dio on the enslavement of the provinces

    Lavan, M. P., Dec 2013, In : Cambridge Classical Journal. 59, p. 125-151

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Combative Capping in Aristophanic Comedy

    Hesk, J. P., Dec 2007, In : Cambridge Classical Journal. 53, p. 124-160

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Character and Consensus in Plato's Protagoras

    Long, A. G., Jan 2005, In : Cambridge Classical Journal. 51, 1, p. 1-20 20 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 252016508