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That Ecce Homo, with its subtitle "How One Becomes What One is;' is Nietzsche's self-presentation of sorts seems rather easy to conclude. But why does Nietzsche do this? What is evident? What do we really learn from the work? Is it primarily a behind-the-scenes peek at Nietzsche's thought, the ideas that truly or actually motivated him? How complete is it as an autobiography, given that it seems devoted largely to his writings? To what extent can we put much stock in the account at all given that Nietzsche would slip into madness not long after the first draft was complete and while still editing and revising it for publication? I hope to shed some light on these common concerns about Nietzsche's Ecce Homo by focusing on how the text bears on his controversial and seemingly paradoxical ideas about agency, fate, and freedom in his presentation of the type he is and how he evolved. Ultimately, I think the presentation of himself that Nietzsche advances in Ecce Homo offers evidence that he anticipates an achievable form of human freedom, although it might be more limited than what the Nietzsche literature sometimes reflects.


This work was originaly published in "The Oxford Handbook of Nietzsche," edited by John Richardson and Ken Gemes. (Oxford University Press)

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