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Essay on Kantian Philosophy vs. Nietsche

Kant escapes the limitations of the apparent world by viewing it through a strictly rational perspective; Neitzsche also achieves this through the will to power of his original code of ethics.

Kantian philosophy escapes the apparent world through reason, void of any influence of the thought of desires, inclinations and past experiences, called a priori reasoning. One who is capable of using a priori reasoning Kant calls a rational agent. Kantian ethics dictates that one ought to use a priori reasoning to determine maxims or subjective principles of action (Groundwork 88) which must be motivated by duty. He notes, “what is essentially good in the action consists in the mental disposition, let the consequences be what they may,” (Groundwork 84). Kant emphasizes that the most important factor in determining one’s maxims is that he or she uses a priori reasoning, motivated by duty. The primary tenet of Kantian philosophy is the Categorical Imperative.

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It asserts, “Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law” (Groundwork 88). The Categorical Imperative ensures that the personal maxims one creates are valid because they must be applicable to all of humanity. Furthermore, because Kant insists that each maxim and universal law is decided upon using a priori reasoning, the categorical imperative is free of sentiment and external influence. Thus Kantian ethics, whose root is the Categorical Imperative, escape the limitations of the “apparent” world.

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Additionally, Nietzsche’s theory of will to power allows him to escape the apparent world. Will to power consists of many different wills but are united under the desire for autonomy. One commands a will to power and one must obey this will as well. He notes that the nature of philosophy is that the philosopher creates his moral code in his own image, as “a kind of involuntary and unconscious memoir” (Nietzsche 13). It is a testament to how his innermost drives are ordered, in comparison with one another. The creation of this philosophy is the “most spiritual will to power” (16) for it establishes a fictional world in which the philosopher is completely autonomous. This fictional world is a point of comparison to the apparent world. It is therefore a world completely outside the limitations of the apparent world; it is a world solely based upon his philosophies, made in his own image.

Thus, it is unlike any other philosophical code or world yet presented. He creates this artificial world only for himself. Yet, what is more notable is that future philosophers will be creating a world not only for themselves but for future generations. They will create a world that is outside the lines of the apparent world but is not only based on the image of the philosopher; for, it will be a model for others. It will be often compared by all to the apparent world. Thus, Nietzsche is able to overcome the restrictions of the apparent world by creating a code of ethics in his image, the ultimate will to power, in which he lives.

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Both Nietzsche and Kant are able to escape the limitations of the apparent world by developing personal philosophies. Within the philosophies lies the themes of will to power and the categorical imperative; they are both modes in which the philosophers can escape the apparent world and live in the world of the moral code which they each created.

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Essay on Kantian Philosophy vs. Nietsche. (2021, Feb 21). Retrieved March 27, 2023, from