Date of Thesis

Spring 2018

Thesis Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts



Minor, Emphasis, or Concentration

French & Francophone Studies

First Advisor

James Mark Shields


Otherness, the Other, Alterity, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche


Bertrand Russell infamously characterizes Nietzsche as a philosopher concerned solely with the flourishing individual. Several crucial passages of Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, however, outline rich encounters Zarathustra has with the Other. In this paper, I argue that Russell’s characterization of Nietzsche is egregiously reductive. In order to demonstrate this, I offer an in-depth analysis of otherness in Thus Spoke Zarathustra by examining the many different kinds of relationships the individual can have with the Other. I then turn towards other works of Nietzsche to furnish the compelling, yet imprecise insight concerning otherness that Zarathustra gives us. Finally, I compare my account of otherness with orthodox interpretations of other key Nietzschean concepts to check its compatibility. All of this is to conclude that Nietzsche’s account of otherness throughout his work is robust and undeniably rich. While there are many areas of seeming tension, he ultimately sets forth many reasons for individuals, who are perhaps concerned solely with their personal flourishing, to substantiate relationships with the Other. In doing so, I argue, the individual can become aware of new avenues to flourish more fully.