I am the author of many philosophical books and articles. Besides the project I am discussing here, I published a book about the philosophy of facial hair (Bedeutende Bärte. Eine Philosophie der Gesichtsbehaarung) in 2020. Some of my English publications are listed at the end of this page. I am a member of the editorial board of the German-speaking philosophy magazine Narthex. Heft für radikales Denken and from 2021 on also of the Zeitschrift für Sozialpädagogik. Currently, I am a fellow of the renowned Forschungsinstitut für Philosophie Hannover, one of Germany’s few para-academic independent research institutions for philosophy, and a PhD student at Freiburg University supervised by Andreas Urs Sommer and Hartmut Rosa. My dissertation deals with the conception of authenticity in Kierkegaard, Stirner, and Nietzsche. I have worked as a lecturer at Hildesheim University and Charles University in Prague.
In 2020, I published the book Link–Nietzscheanismus. Eine Einführung (Left–Nietzscheanism: An Introduction) at Schmetterling, a small company located in Stuttgart that is famous in German left-wing intellectual circles for its well-known publications on radical theory (e. g. Michael Heinrich’s well-known introduction to Marx’s critique of political economy which has also been translated into English). The first volume deals with Nietzsche’s teachings themselves: I do not give a general introduction into his life and work (which has been done better by others), instead, I examine the core points of his philosophy that have been crucial to his reception on the Left. I do not want to present Nietzsche as a left-wing thinker (as it is done, in my view, too often, especially within Anglophone and French discourse) – but also not as a “precursor of fascism”. Instead, I want to demonstrate the ambivalence and diversity of his thinking which made his heterogenous reception possible. It is not presented as a personal weakness of Nietzsche but as the precise strength of this style of thinking: To reflect the objective contradictions of his time along with their astonishing depth and complexity without presuming to provide a premature solution to them. Thus, Nietzsche is presented as a very realist and non-ideological thinker whose ideas may serve as a source of insight and inspiration for all purposes.
In the second volume, I give – for the first time in history – a broad overview over the left-wing reception of Nietzsche. Although the volume is around 500 pages long, I do not depict his reception in its entirety. Rather, I discuss the most prominent figures with emphasis upon philosophers and theoreticians (artists, writers, and activists only play a minor role). I try to show what they took from Nietzsche, how they diverted from him – and also, what some problems of their theories are. In the first section of this volume, I discuss his reception from 1890 to 1914 with special regards to the connected topics of individual liberation and the liberation of the body. In this period, a very wild and experimental reception of Nietzsche took place which is often overlooked even in a German-speaking context. Nietzsche was read in a very innocent, even “naïve” manner – but it remains questionable if, judged according to Nietzsche’s own standards, this “naïve” interpretation is even inferior to “our” “mature” one. Figures like Fanny zu Reventlow, Emma Goldman, Gustav Landauer, or the “red count” Harry Kessler, can still serve as important guideposts for the current struggle for emancipation.
In the second section of the second volume, I discuss also the “dark side” of the history of Nietzsche’s reception. As mentioned above, this “dark side”, namely Nietzsche’s right-wing interpretation, is often either downplayed or suppressed or over-emphasised. In order not to fall prey to the obvious objection of “white” – or even “red-washing” – Nietzsche by only talking about the “light side”, in this part I tried to give the devil its due. However, I clearly show how selective and one-sided the reception of Nietzsche by many right-wing and fascist thinkers indeed is – and that it is to some extent more a myth than a fact. I cannot be denied, however, that people like Mussolini, Goebbels, or Ernst Jünger understood themselves as Nietzscheans, read Nietzsche’s work passionately, and legitimately used some aspects of his writings for their own ideological agenda (such as their enemies did). In a short “interlude” I discuss some of these enemies, however, that lived and worked during the Weimar Republic and came to very different conclusions concerning Nietzsche’s politics. These include the anarchist Theodor Lessing, the social-democrat Julius Leber (a friend of Stauffenberg), and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of the leaders of the Christian resistance against national socialism. All three of these figures, who were all inspired by Nietzsche to a large extent, were murdered by the Nazis.
In the third section of the second volume, I jump back a few decades into the vivid intellectual life before WW I. Here, I consider more sociological and psychological interpretations of Nietzsche from Freud and his disciples, the “classical” generation of German sociologists (e. g. Weber and Simmel), to the Frankfurt School. The long chapter about the Frankfurt School discusses in detail also the controversial discussions about Nietzsche within this “intellectual camp” and deals with more current debates after Habermas’ damnation of Nietzsche. I demonstrate how this damnation was linked to a general de-radicalisation of critical thinking, a theoretical paralysis that haunts German-speaking discourse until today. A reinvention of critical thinking would have to be a return to Nietzsche and Marx.
The final section of the book deals with the most prominent threat of Nietzsche’s left-wing reception today, the French one. Starting from the early left-wing reception of Nietzsche’s works by figures like Georges Sorel and Georges Palante, I discuss dadaism, surrealism, existentialism, the circle around Bataille, situationism, and finally some of the major figures of post-structuralism. I also aim to demonstrate the one-sidedness of this reception in this section. The nihilist, negative side of Nietzsche is highlighted whereas the more affirming, realist aspects of his philosophy are neglected. Nietzsche has been turned into the saint of anti-Marxism and progressive neoliberalism. Against this tendency, the figures of the first and the third part of the book could serve as powerful counterparts – but, of course, also Nietzsche himself.
My book is supplemented by a small volume Die Linke neu leben. Thesen für einen linken Nietzsche heute (Reviving the Left. For a Left Nietzsche Today), a manifesto in which I attempt not just to write about Left–Nietzscheanism but in a manner which is left–Nietzschean itself. In it I also claim that the most important task for Left-wing politics today is the decisive break with progressive neoliberalism and the re-invention of left-wing political incorrectness., Arguably the most politically incorrect thinker of the 19th century, Nietzsche would have to be a fitting hero of such a movement.
A review of my book on Left-Nietzscheanism written by Lukas Meisner can be found at Marx & Philosophy (link).
I have also published some articles in English, which can be found on this website (link), and on the blog of the Halkyonische Assoziation für radikale Philosophie, a para-academic research group co-founded by myself, following Nietzsche’s spirit of “halcyonic” thinking (link). I have also published two reviews on Marx & Philosophy (link). One of my talks about my book has also been translated into Spanish, here (link). There exists a short video book presentation both of my book in Left-Nietzscheanism (link) and on my book on beards (link).
Other important texts from my available in English are:
Nietzsche’s Non-Aesthetics. Nietzsche’s Radical Critique of Traditional Aesthetics (Proceedings of the European Society for Aesthetics 2016)
Learning to See. Nietzsche, Trump, and the New Digital Media (translation of my Germany essay Sehen lernen. Nietzsche, Trump und die neusten Medien which won the second prize at the essay competition of the FIPH in 2017)