Philipp Schwab

Ethik und Ethikkritik.
Philosophie der Existenz bei Kierkegaard und Nietzsche

The paper deals with existential thought in Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, focussing on the relation of ethics and its critique present in both philosophers. In a first step, it is shown that both thinkers highlighten one another. Looking at Kierkegaard with Nietzsche makes visible that the former’s philosophy of existence is essentially based upon a critique of traditional concepts, including a critique of traditional ethics. Looking at Nietzsche in a Kierkegaardian perspective, the profound line of existential thought in Nietzsche comes into view. Furthermore, both develop – though differently – a method of experimental philosophy as an alternative concept to systematic thought.

On this backdrop, a second step explores the essential link between ethics and the critique of ethics in Kierkegaard and Nietzsche. Both mainly discuss the significance of ethics in a polemical rejection of traditional notions and develop own concepts of ethical thought in reflecting the criticized. The paper scetches an outline of this ‘indirect ethics of existence’ and discusses its aspects: refusal of a highest universal principle, openness, affirmation of incompleteness and, centrally, repetition (“Wiederholung” (gentagelse) and “Ewige Wiederkunft”).