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For Nietzsche, Darwinism misses the artistic expressiveness of organic life. In opposition to Darwin’s instrumental approach for which the only purpose of life is survival, Nietzsche suggests a form of teleology for which the beauty of a higher type of human being represents the true purpose of life. The essay shows that Nietzsche never gives up the idea, expressed most emphatically in his early work, that life can only be justified as an aesthetic phenomenon. The essay lays out how such an aesthetic justification can be understood. It shows that Nietzsche’s aesthetic theory is in its core the search for an aesthetic experience of life, because a higher type of human being can prove his existence only through the perspective on life that he is able to adopt. This leads to an aesthetic exceptionalism which makes it impossible for philosophy to define such an experience in general terms. The essay also shows that there is no cognitive, non-ambiguous criterion that allows for the distinction between aesthetic and non-aesthetic, that is, moral points of view, especially with respect to the need for a justification of life.

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