Date of Award

Spring 5-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Philosophy and Religious Studies

Committee Director

Justin Remhof

Committee Member

Tim Anderson

Committee Member

Dylan Wittkower


Commonly believed to be a thought experiment to help us with life affirmation, a cosmological or metaphysical interpretation of Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence seems to be gaining ground. I argue for a metaphysical reading of the eternal recurrence. In arguing for this position, I hold that Nietzsche’s view of the eternal recurrence can be traced back to his admiration for the pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus. Specifically, I think Nietzsche draws on a few of Heraclitus’ cosmological doctrines which include continuous flux, a unity of opposites, and eternal strife. In Nietzsche adopting Heraclitus’ cosmological standpoints, my view is that Nietzsche’s Will to Power is what eternally recurs. The methodology that I use is the “Reflective Journal/Research Diary” method. The format I apply for this method is writing in a textual document format. Further, I examine the primary literature for Heraclius and Nietzsche and compare their cosmological and metaphysical doctrines. In doing so, I apply these doctrines to the eternal recurrence. In my reading of Nietzsche, I find that the Will to Power is a metaphysical force that makes up the whole universe. The Will to Power compels all life even down to cells and atoms, to strive for an expansion of influence. As such, the wills to power are in a never-ending competition and as a result, continuous change occurs. For Nietzsche, even though there is continuous change, the world isn’t capable of eternally creating new things. As a result, competing wills to power win and lose contests in the same sequence thus, ensuring an eternally recurring world.





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