The Social Individual and the Last Human: Marx and Nietzsche Agree to Disagree

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In their appreciation of modernity, Marx and Nietzsche have a lot in common. It is mistaken, for example, to assume that Nietzsche was interested chiefly in ethical and cultural matters, as opposed to Marx’s supposed fixation on the economic ‘base’. Nietzsche’s whole notion of culture was predicated upon a keen appreciation of the indispensable role of the economic base in sustaining all culture, while Marx, conversely, was deeply concerned about the fate of civilization. In that respect, it is useful to underline their ‘agreement’. Their disagreement concerns their respective social vantage-points: Marx envisioned a society overcoming class divisions, whereas Nietzsche directed all his powers at preventing precisely such an outcome. I will attempt to illustrate the usefulness of juxtaposing Marx’s notion of ‘the social individual’ with Nietzsche’s famous depiction of ‘the Last Human’, arguing that their true meaning emerges best when they are brought together.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-265
Number of pages13
JournalCritical Sociology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2016.


  • Critical theory
  • Marxist philosophy
  • Communism
  • Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, 1844-1900
  • Marx, Karl, 1818-1883
  • capitalism
  • communism
  • critical theory
  • dialectics
  • Marxism
  • Nietzsche
  • the Last Man
  • Victorianism


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