Nietzsche expressed surprising admiration for the thought of Benedict Spinoza, referring to him enthusiastically as his “precursor.” Several scholars have tried to account for this affinity through global comparisons of the two thinkers’ doctrines, ignoring that Nietzsche’s knowledge of Spinoza was entirely mediated through his reading of secondary literature (in particular, that of Kuno Fischer). This article examines the Nietzsche-Spinoza relationship by investigating Nietzsche’s notes after his multiple readings of Fischer, as well as those parts of Fischer that Nietzsche read most carefully, and demonstrates that the latter’s text proved surprisingly influential in Nietzsche’s account of the origins of morality as presented in Genealogy of Morals. Spinoza (via Fischer) proves to be a vital inspiration for Nietzsche’s account of the origins of slave morality and the good/bad, good/evil distinction.


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pp. 617-649
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