Welcome to the Fall 2019 & Spring 2020 issue of The Agonist on Nietzsche and affect. In his notes, Nietzsche remarks that “Under every thought there is an affect [Affekt]. Every thought, every feeling, every will is not born from one particular drive, but an overall condition” (KSA 12: 2 ). Affects are described in Daybreak as “inclinations” and “aversions [or disinclinations]” that influence one’s behavior (D 34). And indeed, throughout his work Nietzsche examines a wide variety of particular affects and their functions, analyzing the influence of affects such as pity, guilt, contempt, fear, honor, dishonor, pride, and cheerfulness. A number of Nietzsche scholars offer accounts of how affect functions broadly in Nietzsche. While some investigate the way in which affects create values or evaluative stances ( Janaway, Katsafanas, Poellner), still others examine the way affects shape epistemic perspectives (Clark and Dudrick) and perceptual experience (Poellner) in Nietzsche. Yet the topic of affect in Nietzsche’s thought is still under-thematized.
This special issue of The Agonist on affect aims to serve as a corrective for the undertreatment of this topic so central to Nietzsche’s work. To this end, the essays in this issue treat the topic of Nietzsche on affect [Affekt] (or passion [Leidenschaft]) from a variety of perspectives. Here, we learn about Nietzschean affectivity from the perspective of a single aphorism in Daybreak and through his reflections on moods [Stimmungen]; we learn through the lens of Spinoza and the interpretations of Deleuze on the primacy of the body. Several essays probe the relationship between the will to power and affect in Nietzsche’s thought, while others situate us in relation to a particular affect (such as Zarathustra’s disgust) or in in particular affective contexts (such as aesthetic experience).
Nietzsche’s reflections on the role affective orientations play in shaping our experiences and coloring how we come to know our world calls attention back to the body as a site of world and knowledge production that is never value neutral. His remarks on the way in which values emerge from our embodied affective lives help us see that what often seem to be subject – independent values, quite simply, are not – and can never be. Without understanding Nietzsche on affect, we not only fail to understand key themes of his thought (the revaluation of values, the role unconscious forces play in shaping our perspectives, and more); we also fail to understand ourselves.
We would like to thank all of our contributing writers, the members of our advisory board, the editorial staff at The Agonist, and, of course, our readers. We also would like to announce some changes: Alec Ontiveros resigned in June of last year; we would like to thank him for his consistent and dedicated work for the journal. This is the last issue for Kaitlyn Creasy. Kaitlyn worked in different capacities for The Agonist and has been a central figure in its publication. We would like to thank her and wish her much success in her on-going and future tasks and responsibilities. Finally, we would like to welcome Michael Polesny on board; he is the new Managing Editor of the journal.
The Editorial Board, January 2020