“Nietzsche’s Spiritual Exercises.” In: Michael A. Peters, ed., Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory. Frankfurt am Main: Springer, 2016. 1-7.


Continental Philosophy | Education | History of Philosophy | Philosophy | Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education


Nietzsche’s third Untimely Meditation, composed in 1874, Schopenhauer as Educator, reflects upon and describes a “spiritual exercise” not unlike the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, detailing tactics and including practical advice. Thus Nietzsche’s “spiritual exercises” correspond to the traditional practice of self-cultivation, self-education, characteristic of the Stoic philosophers but also influential for the Hellenistic neo-Platonic tradition, the church fathers, and St. Augustine, author of De Magistro and the Confessions. Beyond antiquity, spiritual exercises refer to a theological practice of selfcultivation and self-discipline.



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