Riccardo Carli

Riccardo Carli

University of Queensland

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Nietzsche and the Dionysian approach towards the symbol

Adelaide Workshop 2017

The capability to create symbols is broadly understood as one of the essential characteristics of the human being, and the condition of possibility of art in general. This activity, however, is for Nietzsche the ground for an original tension within subjectivity. Indeed, even though our symbols allow us to simplify and organise the world, nature always defies these categorisations with its complexity and relationality. This paper discusses the tension between nature and symbolisation and the Nietzschean endorsement of Dionysus, as the artistic possibility to experience both (1) a subject prone to individuation and (2) nature which exceeds every codification. In conclusion, Dionysus will emerge as the personification of a particular artistic approach towards the symbol. Arguably, this very approach is also what Nietzsche values for the ethical endeavour of the shaping of the ‘free spirit’.

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