Three Interpretations of Eternal Recurrence

Robin Smalla1

a1 Monash University

It is commonly agreed that Nietzsche's doctrine of eternal recurrence is hard to understand. The difficulty lies not so much in any great complexity or highly technical character as in uncertainty over what kind of doctrine it is intended to be. Without knowing this we are in no position to agree upon the guidelines for assessing its validity or invalidity. In this discussion I intend to suggest an approach to the problem which will help us to answer these questions—and to avoid some of the difficulties encountered by previous interpretations.