Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Philosophy



First Advisor

Galen A. Johnson


In Conflicting Interpretations of Nietzsche's Will to Power the problem of discovering the nature of the will to power is investigated. Chapter one investigates the conflicting statements that Nietzsche makes about the will to power. Because there are so many contradictory statements interpretations of his writings become useful. The two interpretations that are considered in this paper are Walter Kaufmann's and Martin Heidegger's. Kaufmann's interpretation can be classified as scientific or psychological. Kaufmann believes that the will to power is useful only as a tool for explaining human behavior. He also believes that Nietzsche arrived at his conception of the will to power through empirical observation. Heidegger's interpretation can be classified as metaphysical. He views the will to power as the center of Nietzsche's entire philosophy. Heidegger believes that Nietzsche intended for the will to power to be an explanation of the physical world. In order to evaluate these conflicting interpretations there is a chapter in this paper which investigates Nietzsche's view of art. It is obvious that the will to power and art are closely related in Nietzsche's philosophy so any interpretation of the will to power should conform to his artistic views. Heidegger's view conforms better than Kaufmann's. This paper concludes that Kaufmann seems to understand the early Nietzsche while Heidegger grasps the later, metaphysical Nietzsche.



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