Bernard Reginster's book The Affirmation of Life (2006) purports to fill a gap in our understanding of Nietzsche's philosophical project by explaining why Nietzsche regards the affirmation of life as his defining philosophical achievement. Reginster is not alone in emphasizing the centrality of life affirmation to Nietzsche's thought. What makes Reginster's book new and original is his systematic approach—his attempt to isolate a core of Nietzsche's philosophy and show how everything else, especially the affirmation of life, is related to it. This article challenges the systematicity Reginster finds in Nietzsche's work; above all, it rejects Reginster's claim that what has led to nihilism is the condemnation of suffering, a view Nietzsche is said to inherit from Schopenhauer. I raise questions about how much of Schopenhauer's view Nietzsche in fact retains and about how well Reginster's account of affirmation fits with Nietzsche's account of the will to power, which, as I have argued elsewhere, has played an essential part in producing all the things Nietzsche values.


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pp. 87-98
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