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On the occasion of the 140th anniversary of Nietzsche’s journey to Messina, we have decided to organize an International Blended Conference entitled “Nietzsche Today” (5-7 October 2022), in order to reflect on the role that Nietzsche’s work continues to play in contemporary philosophical debate. Also thanks to the publication in the 1960s and the 1970s of the critical edition of his writings and its subsequent circulation among scholars, Nietzsche has progressively acquired an extraordinary relevance in contemporary philosophy, as well as in literature, art, psychoanalysis, law, politics, sciences and technology. His thought marked the 20th century so powerfully that it has rightly been defined as «Nietzsche’s century».
However, philosophically investigating Nietzsche’s relevance today means first and foremost taking up the challenge of a controversial legacy, which is full of tensions and incandescent provocations; also because of a style that cannot be assimilated to the conventional academic form, his work is irreducible to the univocity of a thesis or position.
The beginning of the 1960s marked a decisive turning point in the history of the reception of Nietzsche’s thought. In 1961, Heidegger published his Nietzsche, an account of the strenuous hand-to-hand struggle with Nietzsche’s work that lasted for almost a decade, from 1936 to 1946, during the darkest years in European history. In contrast to the racial biologism of the time, Heidegger interpreted the Übermensch in the light of Jünger’s Arbeiter, and life, that is the will to power, as the will to dominate reality through technology. The following year, in France, Gilles Deleuze published Nietzsche and Philosophy, a crucial text that gave rise to the Nietzsche-Renaissance, in which philosophers such as Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida were also involved from the start. Another Nietzsche appears here, interpreted through the filter of Bergson; the will to power is understood as the power of affirmation and differentiation in the unceasing conflict of active and reactive forces. It is in the wake of these original lines of interpretation that Nietzsche’s work has continued to exert a decisive influence on the main trends of contemporary thought. His work has been revitalised by Foucault’s theories of biopolitics, care of the self and aesthetics of existence, by Derrida’s deconstruction, as well as by the debate on the posthuman, of which it is an unavoidable presupposition. In accordance with its declared posthumous character, Nietzsche’s thought confirms today more than ever its untimely actuality and forces us once again to confront it.
The aim of the Call is to verify the enduring presence of Nietzsche in the various fields of contemporary philosophy. Given the broad spectrum of the influence exerted from the different aspects of his thought, we prefer to give only a general indication of some of the main thematic areas worthy of attention:
- Philosophy of technology
- Political philosophy
- Philosophy of law
- Aesthetics and visual art theories
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