Nietzsche’s Critique of Rational Subjectivity and His Aphoristic Writing

‘Let those who have ears hear’


  • Xinyang Zhao University of Edinburgh


Nietzsche, Metaphysics, Reason, Subject, Aphorism


Nietzsche’ distinct writing style is deeply intertwined with his philosophy. This essay examines the relationship between Nietzsche’s philosophy and his aphoristic writing through his critique of traditional metaphysics anchored on the notion of the rational subject. Nietzsche diagnoses the way of subjectivity thinking as the misinterpretation of language, locating the roots of rational thought to the structures and habits of language. The conceptual systemic writing of philosophy contributes to this thinking and stifles the living ‘self’ with the rational subject ‘I’. Therefore, Nietzsche abandoned the traditional conceptual writing and adopted aphoristic style, orientating readers to approach the true ‘self’ which is inaccessible for reason. Aphoristic writing embodies pluralism by presenting fragments, inviting a wider range of interpretation, and revealing diverse perspectives. Its structure also ensures the consistency of the theme. Only those readers who ‘have ears’ can hear the reecho in Nietzsche’s aphorisms through his esoteric writing which opens to the future.


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How to Cite

Zhao, X. (2023). Nietzsche’s Critique of Rational Subjectivity and His Aphoristic Writing: ‘Let those who have ears hear’. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 19(1), 212–228. Retrieved from