Nietzschean affirmation used to be a very important thing for me. Something like it still is. At root, this just means judging particular goods on intrinsic/situational criteria, from a stance that embraces life without the poison of ressentiment (holding on to reactive, negative emotion). Nietzsche’s poetic images of Zarathustra coming down from the mountain, being friends with the earth, and embracing the eternal return were significant moments of my youth. (See also Genealogy; Honesty, Kindness; Intellectual Virtue, Love; Interpretive Charity.)

Later, I came to think that Spinoza had in a way already said what I most valued in Nietzsche. (Many have recognized the affirmative character of Spinoza’s thought.)

Still later, I came to think that Aristotle had already expressed the affirmative kernel I valued most in Spinoza, and much more.

I have been reading the core ethical message of Brandom’s Spirit of Trust in a related light. (See Index for many posts on Aristotle and Brandom.)

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